|Issue 1106: February 25, 2014
OFFICIAL RELEASES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
JOURNAL ARTICLES AND NEWSLETTERS
CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS
CDC holds telebriefing about seriousness of influenza this season, especially among adults age 18–64; MMWR publishes three related reports on influenza cases and deaths, seasonal influenza activity, and influenza vaccine effectiveness
On February 20, CDC held a telebriefing to share new information about the seriousness of this influenza season. The 2013–14 influenza season has been particularly hard on younger- and middle-age adults, with people age 18–64 years representing 61% of all hospitalizations due to influenza—up from the previous three seasons when this age group represented only about 35% of all such hospitalizations.
"Dear Colleague" letter from CDC and professional societies urges healthcare professionals caring for pregnant women to administer influenza vaccination and treat influenza with antivirals
On February 3, CDC posted a "Dear Colleague" letter authored by Anne Schuchat, MD, director, NCIRD, CDC, as well as eleven professional societies. The letter urges healthcare professionals to protect all pregnant and postpartum women against influenza with vaccination, and also to instigate prompt antiviral treatment for pregnant women with influenza.
The complete text of the letter is reprinted below.
We are asking for your help in protecting all pregnant and postpartum women against influenza. Influenza activity in the U.S. remains high overall and may continue for weeks. H1N1 viruses have been dominant so far. This is the H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic, which was especially hard on pregnant women. CDC has received reports of flu hospitalizations and deaths in pregnant women with influenza virus infection this season. It is important that we be vigilant in protecting pregnant and postpartum women from flu. The first and most important step for flu prevention is getting a flu vaccine; prompt antiviral treatment is our second line of defense in reducing flu complications and death.
Your recommendations make a difference to your patients. Here are some key points to consider during discussions with your patients about the importance of flu vaccination and prompt treatment for flu:
1. Pregnant women should receive seasonal influenza vaccine.
The letter is signed by leaders from the following organizations:
National Vaccine Advisory Committee publishes "Standards for Adult Immunization Practice"
The National Vaccine Advisory Committee’s (NVAC) Standards for Adult Immunization Practice were released on September 10, 2013, and published in the March/April 2014 issue of Public Health Reports. The following information is provided courtesy of the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit website.
The NVAC standards recognize the importance of the healthcare provider recommendation for patients to receive needed vaccines, the current low vaccination rates among U.S. adults, and reflect the changed environment within which adult vaccines are now given.
NEW STANDARDS FOR ADULT IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES
ALL healthcare professionals should take the following steps to ensure that adult patients are fully immunized and have maximum protection from serious diseases.
California Department of Public Health issues health advisory: 14 measles cases in state since beginning of 2014
On February 19, 2014, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a health advisory titled 14 Measles Cases in State of California in 2014. CDPH asks that healthcare professionals look for signs of measles, a highly contagious disease.
An excerpt from the advisory is reprinted below.
Fourteen cases of measles with onset in 2014 have been reported to California Department of Public Health. Among the California cases, four case-patients had traveled outside of North and South America, with three traveling to the Philippines. Nationally, an increase has been noted in the proportion of measles cases with travel to the Philippines. Measles cases from recent years have reported travel to Germany, France, England, India, and China, among other destinations.
Of the 2014 California case-patients without international travel, three had contact with known measles cases, two had contact with international travelers and five are under investigation to identify potential sources.
Of the 12 cases with known measles vaccination status, 8 were unvaccinated (7 were intentionally unvaccinated and 1 was too young to be vaccinated)....
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issues draft recommendations for HBV screening of high-risk populations; comments solicited
On February 10, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft recommendation statement titled Screening for Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Nonpregnant Adolescents and Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.
This statement recommends testing everyone who is at high risk for hepatitis B infection, and rates this recommendation a "B" grade. A "B" grade is defined as follows: "The USPSTF recommends the service. There is high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial." This is an importance change, as the current related USPSTF recommendation is a “D” grade, which means hepatitis B screening is not recommended for anyone except pregnant women.
The new draft statement recommends hepatitis B screening for:
USPSTF recommendations are important as they increase awareness and ensure that recommended services are covered by most private and public payers. Please take the time to send a statement of support for the proposed "B" grade, especially if you work with at-risk populations. Submit your comments to USPSTF by 5:00 p.m. (ET), March 10.
CDC's March 12 NetConference to focus on the 2014 childhood and adult immunization recommendations and on adult immunization practice standards
CDC will present a Current Issues in Immunization NetConference on March 12 from noon to 1:00 p.m. (ET).
The featured topics and speakers:
This is a limited registration event. Registration (required) will close on March 11 or when the course is full.
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IAC enrolls nine more birthing institutions into its Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is pleased to announce that nine new institutions have been accepted into its Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll. The birthing institutions are listed below with their reported hepatitis B birth dose coverage rates in parentheses.
The Honor Roll is a key part of IAC’s major initiative urging the nation’s hospitals to Give birth to the end of Hep B. Hospitals and birthing centers are recognized for attaining high coverage rates for administering hepatitis B vaccine at birth and meeting specific additional criteria. The initiative urges qualifying healthcare organizations to apply for the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll online.
To be included in the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll, a birthing institution must have: (1) reported a coverage rate of 90% or greater, over a 12-month period, for administering hepatitis B vaccine before hospital discharge to all newborns, including those whose parents refuse vaccination, and (2) implemented specific written policies, procedures, and protocols to protect all newborns from hepatitis B virus infection prior to hospital discharge.
Honorees are also awarded an 8.5" x 11" color certificate suitable for framing and their acceptance is announced to IAC Express’s approximately 50,000 readers.
Please visit the new Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll web page that lists these institutions and their exceptional efforts to protect infants from perinatal hepatitis B transmission.
IAC Spotlight! "IAC's Most Popular Web Sections and Downloads" are easy to find on immunize.org home page
The immunize.org home page offers links to this month’s top 15 web sections and to the top 10 downloaded handouts and publications for patients and staff. On the left side of IAC’s newly redesigned home page, you will find this handy list of links.
Top web sections include those for Ask the Experts, Clinic Resources, Vaccine Information Statements, and Handouts for Patients & Staff. Top downloads include the Summary of Recommendations for Adult Immunization, Summary of Recommendations for Child/Teen Immunization, and Vaccinations for Adults: You're never too old to be immunized.
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IAC develops new handout for parents: "Top Ten Reasons to Protect Your Child by Vaccinating"
IAC recently developed a new handout for healthcare professionals to share with parents who may be questioning vaccination. Top Ten Reasons to Protect Your Child by Vaccinating is a user-friendly, easy-to-read handout that highlights the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases and the importance of vaccination.
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Use "Skills Checklist for Immunization" to review and promote proper standards with immunization staff
Reviewed in February, Skills Checklist for Immunization was found to be current and in need of no updates. The skills checklist is a self-assessment tool for healthcare staff who administer immunizations. Supervisors can use the checklist to clarify responsibilities and expectations for staff who administer vaccines.
The skills checklist handout was developed by the California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch.
OFFICIAL RELEASES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
WHO requests nominations for current and future vacancies for its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization
The World Health Organization (WHO) regularly solicits proposals for nominations for vacancies for its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization. SAGE is the principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization. SAGE reports directly to the Director-General and advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies.
Influenza is serious; vaccination is recommended for nearly everyone, so please keep vaccinating your patients
Vaccination remains the single most effective means of preventing influenza, and is recommended for everyone age six months and older. If you don't provide influenza vaccination in your clinic, please recommend vaccination to your patients and refer them to a clinic or pharmacy that provides vaccines or to the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate sites near their workplaces or homes that offer influenza vaccination services.
Following is a list of resources related to influenza disease and vaccination for healthcare professionals and the public:
Bulk quantities of laminated pocket guides for pneumococcal vaccine are available—free—from the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit and IAC
Although IAC has distributed all available Influenza Vaccine Pocket Guides, healthcare providers can still order bulk quantities of the Pneumococcal Vaccine Pocket Guide. This guide was developed with IAC in collaboration with the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit (NAIIS).
The laminated, 3.75" x 6.75", two-color card serves as a convenient reference for front-line healthcare professionals who vaccinate patients against pneumococcal disease. Place a bulk order now, and hand them out to healthcare professionals at your workplace or at conferences.
These pocket guides are designed to be used by healthcare professionals only; they are NOT patient handouts.
Place your order today using IAC's online order form. There is no cost for the pocket guide, shipping, or handling within the U.S.
If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES AND NEWSLETTERS
CDC publishes report of varicella-associated death of vaccinated child with leukemia
CDC published Notes from the Field: Varicella-Associated Death of a Vaccinated Child with Leukemia—California, 2012 in the February 21 issue of MMWR (page 161). The first paragraph is reprinted below.
Varicella, a contagious viral disease, is typically self-limited but can result in serious complications, especially among persons who are immunocompromised. On April 10, 2012, a girl aged 4 years with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was exposed to a mildly ill cousin who developed a varicella rash 2 days later. The episode was reported to the child's oncologist after 13 days. The girl was prescribed 7 days of oral acyclovir for prophylaxis and concurrently began her scheduled chemotherapy, which included a 5-day course of dexamethasone (prednisone equivalent dose of 23 mg/day). Twenty-two days after her varicella exposure, the girl was taken to an emergency department for fever and abdominal pain. She was treated symptomatically; her caretakers were instructed to discontinue chemotherapy and to follow up with her oncologist. Two days later, the girl returned to the emergency department with a generalized rash. She was hospitalized and treated with intravenous acyclovir and antibiotics. However, she developed multiorgan failure and died on May 7. Varicella was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction testing, and no alternative diagnoses were found for her acute illness.
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CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS
Registration now open for 2014 STD Prevention Conference; early bird registration ends April 15
The 2014 STD Prevention Conference, More STD Prevention for the Money: Maximizing Impact, Efficiency, and Return on Program Investments, will be held June 9–12, 2014, in Atlanta, GA. Conference registration rates and forms, as well as sponsored participant applications are now available. Early bird registration ends April 15.
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IZ Express is supported in part by Grant No. 1NH23IP922654 from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Its contents are solely the responsibility of Immunize.org and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.
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Editor-in-ChiefKelly L. Moore, MD, MPH
Managing EditorJohn D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD
Associate EditorSharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH
Writer/Publication CoordinatorTaryn Chapman, MS
Courtnay Londo, MA
Style and Copy EditorMarian Deegan, JD
Web Edition ManagersArkady Shakhnovich
Contributing WriterLaurel H. Wood, MPA
Technical ReviewerKayla Ohlde