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Populations at Risk for Flu-associated Complications and Recommended Treatments

Rebekah Stewart Schicker, MSN, MPH, APRN, Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Influenza Division, discusses which outpatient populations are at highest risk of influenza-associated complications and the recommended treatments for these individuals.

Rebekah Stewart Schicker, MSN, MPH, APRN, Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Influenza Division, discusses which outpatient populations are at highest risk of influenza-associated complications and recommended treatments.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

"The outpatient population that’s considered at high risk for influenza-associated complications [include] children younger than 2 years, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or immunosuppression, among others.

The treatment for influenza among patients at high risk, or among any person who’s hospitalized, or has progressive influenza illness is a neurominidase inhibitor. Really, neurominidase inhibitors are the only approved treatment for influenza, and they include medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), or zanamivir (Relenza) or peramivir [(Rapivab)]. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), is the most commonly used one in the outpatient setting and it’s recommended as early as possible after symptoms start. The benefits are seen most when it’s started within two days of symptom onset."