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Flu jabs for nursing home staff and residents key to cutting outbreaks

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High immunisation coverage of staff and residents of nursing homes are essential for preventing potentially deadly influenza-like outbreaks, a new US study suggests.

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

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