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Epidemiology of H1N1 (2009) Influenza among Healthcare Workers in a Tertiary Care Center in Saudi Arabia: A 6‐Month Surveillance Study

Hanan H. Balkhy , MD, Aiman El‐Saed , MD, PhD and Mahmoud Sallah , MD
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 31, No. 10 (October 2010), pp. 1004-1010
DOI: 10.1086/656241
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/656241
Page Count: 7
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Epidemiology of H1N1 (2009) Influenza among Healthcare Workers in a Tertiary Care Center in Saudi Arabia: A 6‐Month Surveillance Study
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Abstract

Background.  Certain emerging infections, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian influenza, represent a great risk to healthcare workers (HCWs). There are few data about the epidemiology of H1N1 influenza among HCWs. Methods.  We conducted a prospective surveillance study for all HCWs at King Abdulaziz Medical City (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) who were confirmed positive for H1N1 influenza by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from June 1 through November 30, 2009. Results.  During 6 months of surveillance, 526 HCWs were confirmed positive for H1N1 influenza. The distribution of these cases showed 2 clear outbreaks: an initial outbreak (peak at early August) and a shorter second wave (peak at end of October). Among all PCR‐confirmed cases, the attack rate was significantly higher in clinical HCWs than in nonclinical HCWs (6.0% vs 4.3%; \documentclass{aastex} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{bm} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pifont} \usepackage{stmaryrd} \usepackage{textcomp} \usepackage{portland,xspace} \usepackage{amsmath,amsxtra} \usepackage[OT2,OT1]{fontenc} \newcommand\cyr{ \renewcommand\rmdefault{wncyr} \renewcommand\sfdefault{wncyss} \renewcommand\encodingdefault{OT2} \normalfont \selectfont} \DeclareTextFontCommand{\textcyr}{\cyr} \pagestyle{empty} \DeclareMathSizes{10}{9}{7}{6} \begin{document} \landscape $P< .001$ \end{document} ) and in HCWs in emergency departments than in HCWs in other hospital locations (17.4% vs 5.0%, \documentclass{aastex} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{bm} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pifont} \usepackage{stmaryrd} \usepackage{textcomp} \usepackage{portland,xspace} \usepackage{amsmath,amsxtra} \usepackage[OT2,OT1]{fontenc} \newcommand\cyr{ \renewcommand\rmdefault{wncyr} \renewcommand\sfdefault{wncyss} \renewcommand\encodingdefault{OT2} \normalfont \selectfont} \DeclareTextFontCommand{\textcyr}{\cyr} \pagestyle{empty} \DeclareMathSizes{10}{9}{7}{6} \begin{document} \landscape $P< .001$ \end{document} ). The percentage of HCWs who received regular influenza vaccination was greater for clinical HCWs than for nonclinical HCWs (46.2% vs 24.6%; \documentclass{aastex} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{bm} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pifont} \usepackage{stmaryrd} \usepackage{textcomp} \usepackage{portland,xspace} \usepackage{amsmath,amsxtra} \usepackage[OT2,OT1]{fontenc} \newcommand\cyr{ \renewcommand\rmdefault{wncyr} \renewcommand\sfdefault{wncyss} \renewcommand\encodingdefault{OT2} \normalfont \selectfont} \DeclareTextFontCommand{\textcyr}{\cyr} \pagestyle{empty} \DeclareMathSizes{10}{9}{7}{6} \begin{document} \landscape $P< .001$ \end{document} ). The majority of HCWs with confirmed H1N1 influenza were young (mean age ± standard deviation, 34.5 ± 9.5 years), not Saudi (58.4%), female (55.1%), and nurses (36.1%). Approximately 4% of women who were less than 50 years old were pregnant. Reported exposures included contact with a case (41.0%), contact with a sick household member (23.8%), and recent travel history (13.3%). Respiratory symptoms (98.0%), including cough (90.1%), were the most frequently reported symptoms, followed by muscle aches (66.2%), fever (62.5%), headache (57.9%), diarrhea (16.5%), and vomiting (9.8%). None of these HCWs died, and all recovered fully without hospital admission. Conclusions.  The results confirm the vulnerability of HCWs, whether clinical or nonclinical, to emerging H1N1 influenza.

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