An official with King County Public Health is issuing a warning this week to local nursing homes and other long-term care facilities about a sharp increase in influenza outbreaks.
Thirty-two facilities in King County have reported outbreaks of influenza since Jan. 1, according to a message from Dr. Jeffrey S. Duchin, commmunicable-disease chief for Public Health — Seattle & King County. In comparison, an average of 12 outbreaks have been reported per season since 2007-2008, he said.
The county is advising that long-term care workers begin treating symptoms with anti-viral medications immediately, without waiting for lab results or rapid influenza tests. The instructions warn that elderly patients may show mild symptoms with little or no fever.
Care providers should also make sure all residents and staff have received a flu vaccination, the memo states.
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