Influenza: Overview and Recommendations for Control

Juanita Valley, RN, MSN, ANP, Carolyn L. Blue, PhD, RN, CHES


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2002;2(1) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Each year, significant numbers of individuals around the world experience the morbidity and mortality associated with influenza. Annual vaccination programs are aimed at protecting the public against influenza. The success of these programs depends on global surveillance of influenza outbreaks, the effectiveness of vaccine constituents, and the ability to reach subgroups of the population who are at highest risk for developing influenza and the complications related to influenza. Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are in a position to facilitate vaccine acceptance by enhancing client education about influenza and the vaccine and by helping to break down the barriers that prevent people from being vaccinated.

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious viral infection that each year causes extensive morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although rates of infection are highest among children, serious illnesses and deaths from influenza are greater among the elderly and people who have certain underlying medical conditions that place them at greater risk for influenza complications.[1] Even among healthy adults, influenza is costly because of increased numbers of physician visits, hospitalizations, and work absenteeism.[1,2] The purpose of this article is to discuss influenza and surveillance strategies, recommendations for prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and interventions by Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) that may increase the number of persons who receive an influenza vaccine.


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