West virginia NEWS

WVDHHR Bureau for Public Health Issues Health Advisory on Influenza Associated School Outbreaks

The West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources (WVDHHR) Bureau for Public Health has issued a health advisory for influenza associated school outbreaks. 
Healthcare providers are encouraged to consider the following recommendations:
  • Continue to offer and encourage influenza vaccination to all unvaccinated persons aged ≥6 months as long as influenza viruses are circulating. Vaccination can reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.
  • Influenza testing of individual patients may provide clinically useful results that will help with diagnosis and treatment decisions.
  • It is important to determine the etiology of respiratory outbreaks in closed settings. Testing for influenza by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is available at the WV Office of Laboratory Services for surveillance and outbreak response and should be coordinated through your local health department. For a list of local health departments, visit http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/localhealth/Pages/Map.aspx.
  • Influenza antiviral medications are an important adjunct to vaccination in the treatment and prevention of influenza. For a summary of clinical practices regarding the use of influenza antiviral medications, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/summary-clinicians.htm.
  • Encourage children and adults to take every day preventive actions to protect themselves against influenza including using good hand hygiene and staying home from school or work when sick.
Guidelines for the management of outbreaks in schools can be found at: http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/oeps/disease/ob/Pages/OutbreakToolkits.aspx

For more information, contact your local health department or the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (DIDE) at 1-800-423-1271, ext. 1 or (304) 558-5358, ext. 1; or call the Answering Service at (304) 925-9946.

Read the full health advisory for additional details