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Expired CME Article

Prevention and Control of Influenza

Prescott P. Lee, MD
Volume: 96 Issue: 8 August, 2003

Abstract:

Influenza is arguably the most important cause of acute upper respiratory tract infection in humans. Epidemics associated with influenza viruses are responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other vaccine-preventable disease. 1–4 Approximately 20,000 excess deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States occur as a result of these infections. 1 All age groups are affected, the virus is highly communicable, and it can reinfect and thus cause repeated infections throughout life. 1,5 The mainstay of influenza prevention and control is the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIIV). Annual administration of TIIV is a cost-effective approach for the prevention of influenza, especially in years when there is a good antigenic match between the dominant circulating wild-type virus and the strains included in the vaccine. 1,4 The vaccine is safe, inexpensive, and, most important, effective in reducing illness caused by influenza, associated pneumonia, exacerbation of cardiopulmonary disease, otitis media, and all-cause mortality. Furthermore, sick leave and physician's office visits are reduced in vaccinated individuals. 1–3,6–13

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References:

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