High immunisation coverage of staff and residents of nursing homes are essential for preventing potentially deadly influenza-like outbreaks, a new US study suggests.
Researchers from a non-for profit research organisation in the US defined clusters of influenza-like illness as more than three cases with flu-like symptoms reported within 72 hours in close proximity within nursing homes.
They surveyed 301 nursing homes, looked at vaccination rates among staff and residents and outbreaks of influenza-like illness between October 2004 and May 2005.
Average immunisation among staff was 50% and residents 79%
Findings show a nursing home is 60% less likely to have an outbreak of influenza-like illness if more than 55% of the staff and 89% residents have been vaccinated against the flu.
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (2006) 7: 562-567