Discussion Papers



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Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers 

Healthcare workers are often exposed to the flu virus during the course of their work, contributing to substantial rates of infection during the influenza season. In fact, it has been estimated that up to 25% of healthcare workers can contract influenza during any given season. In turn, healthcare workers may transmit the virus to patients in their care, including those who are at high-risk of developing serious complications from influenza, such as the elderly, young children and those with chronic underlying medical conditions. In addition, the tendency of a significant percentage of healthcare workers to continue working despite being ill with influenza exacerbates this already risky situation. 

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Influenza Vaccination Among Healthcare Workers 

Influenza Vaccination Among Healthcare Workers References                                          



Influenza - a guide for occupational health professionals

Vaccination against influenza safely and effectively reduces the risk of infection, and treatments are now available to alleviate the duration and severity of symptoms if infection occurs. Yet while Australia has made excellent progress in targeting those aged 65 and older, the majority of younger at-risk individuals remain unprotected.

This publication, from the Influenza Specialist Group, reviews current issues in the prevention and treatment of influenza – at a time when awareness of viral respiratory infections has been heightened by the occurrence of SARS and the recent spread of avian influenza, originating in South-East Asia and highlighting the threat of a potential worldwide pandemic.

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Influenza - A Guide for Occupational Health Professionals  

Antiviral DP 

Treatment of influenza in interpandemic periods 

Annual influenza epidemics cause significant illness and death each year in Australia, particularly among people aged 65 and over, the very young, or those with chronic cardiac illness, respiratory illness, diabetes or an immune deficiency. In fact, in an average year it is estimated that 1,500 Australians die, 20,000 - 40,000 are hospitalised and many more fall ill due to influenza. In the mid 1990s the total cost of influenza to the Australian economy was estimated to be around $600 million – costs which can be expected to be substantially higher now.

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Treatment of Influenza in Interpandemic Periods