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Disruption of Services in an Internal Medicine Unit Due to a Nosocomial Influenza Outbreak

  • Catherine Sartor (a1), Christine Zandotti (a2), Fanny Romain (a3), Véronique Jacomo (a4), Sophie Simon (a2), Catherine Atlan-Gepner (a5), Roland Sambuc (a1) (a3), Bernard Vialettes (a5) and Michel Drancourt (a1) (a4)...



To describe a nosocomial influenza A out-break, how it was managed, what impact it had on subsequent delivery of health care, and the additional charges attributable to it.


Prospective cohort study and microbiological investigation.


One internal medicine unit in an acute care, university-affiliated hospital.


Twenty-three patients and 22 staff members from February 28 to March 6,1999.


Attack rates were 41% (9 of 22) among patients and 23% (5 of 22) among staff members, with 3 of 14 cases being classified as “certain”. The influenza virus isolates were typed as A/SYDNEY/5/97 (H3N2). The index case was a patient who shared a room with the first nosocomial case. Vaccination rates for influenza virus were 43% (10 of 23) among patients and 36% (8 of 22) among staff members. The outbreak resulted in staff members' taking 14 person-days of sick leave. Furthermore, 8 scheduled admissions were postponed and all emergency admissions were suspended for 11 days. Hospital charges attributable to the influenza outbreak totaled $34,179 and the average extra charge per infected patient was $3,798.


Nosocomial influenza outbreaks increase charges and alter the quality of care delivered in acute care settings. Strategies for their prevention need to be evaluated in acute care settings. (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2002;23:615-619).


Corresponding author

Laboratoire de Bactériologie, Hygiène et Epidémiologic Hospitalière, Hôpital Timone, rue Saint-Pierre, 13005 Marseille, France


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