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1.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
Conclusions
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200.
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
2.  Planning and process evaluation of a multi-faceted influenza vaccination implementation strategy for health care workers in acute health care settings 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:235.
Background
Influenza transmitted by health care workers (HCWs) is a potential threat to frail patients in acute health care settings. Therefore, immunizing HCWs against influenza should receive high priority. Despite recommendations of the World Health Organization, vaccine coverage of HCWs remains low in all European countries. This study explores the use of intervention strategies and methods to improve influenza vaccination rates among HCWs in an acute care setting.
Methods
The Intervention Mapping (IM) method was used to systematically develop and implement an intervention strategy aimed at changing influenza vaccination behaviour among HCWs in Dutch University Medical Centres (UMCs). Carried out during the influenza seasons 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, the interventions were then qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated by way of feedback from participating UMCs and the completion of a web-based staff questionnaire in the following spring of each season.
Results
The IM method resulted in the development of a transparent influenza vaccination intervention implementation strategy. The intervention strategy was offered to six Dutch UMCs in a randomized in a clustered Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), where three UMCs were chosen for intervention, and three UMCs acted as controls. A further two UMCs elected to have the intervention. The qualitative process evaluation showed that HCWs at four of the five intervention UMCs were responsive to the majority of the 11 relevant behavioural determinants resulting from the needs assessment in their intervention strategy compared with only one of three control UMCs. The quantitative evaluation among a sample of HCWs revealed that of all the developed communication materials, HCWs reported the posters as the most noticeable.
Conclusions
Our study demonstrates that it is possible to develop a structured implementation strategy for increasing the rate of influenza vaccination by HCWs in acute health care settings. The evaluation also showed that it is impossible to expose all HCWs to all intervention methods (which would have been the best case scenario). Further study is needed to (1) improve HCW exposure to intervention methods; (2) determine the effect of such interventions on vaccine uptake among HCWs; and (3) assess the impact on clinical outcomes among patients when such interventions are enacted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-235
PMCID: PMC3680164  PMID: 23701921
Influenza vaccination; Health care workers; Intervention mapping; Intervention implementation; Acute health care
3.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
Background
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
Conclusions
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
Background.
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494.
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
4.  Protecting patients, protecting healthcare workers: a review of the role of influenza vaccination 
International Nursing Review  2011;59(2):161-167.
MUSIC T. (2012) A review of the role the role of influenza vaccination in protecting patients, protecting healthcare workers the role of influenza vaccination. International Nursing Review59, 161–167
Aim:
Many health authorities recommend routine influenza vaccination for healthcare workers (HCWs), and during the 2009 A (H1N1) pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended immunization of all HCWs worldwide. As this remains an important area of policy debate, this paper examines the case for vaccination, the role of local guidelines, barriers to immunization and initiatives to increase uptake.
Background:
Seasonal influenza is a major threat to public health, causing up to 1 million deaths annually. Extensive evidence supports the vaccination of priority groups, including HCWs. Immunization protects HCWs themselves, and their vulnerable patients from nosocomial influenza infections. In addition, influenza can disrupt health services and impact healthcare organizations financially. Immunization can reduce staff absences, offer cost savings and provide economic benefits.
Methods:
This paper reviews official immunization recommendations and HCW vaccination studies, including a recent International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) survey of 26 countries from each region of the world.
Results:
HCW immunization is widely recommended and supported by the WHO. In the IFPMA study, 88% of countries recommended HCW vaccination, and 61% supported this financially (with no correlation to country development status). Overall, coverage can be improved, and research shows that uptake may be impacted by lack of conveniently available vaccines and misconceptions regarding vaccine safety/efficacy and influenza risk.
Conclusions:
Many countries recommend HCW vaccination against influenza. In recent years, there has been an increased uptake rate among HCWs in some countries, but not in others. Several initiatives can increase coverage, including education, easy access to free vaccines and the use of formal declination forms. The case for HCW vaccination is clear, and in an effort to further accelerate uptake as a patient safety measure, an increasing number of healthcare organizations, particularly in the USA, are implementing mandatory immunization policies, similar to other obligatory hygiene measures. However, it would be desirable if similar high vaccination uptake rates could be achieved through voluntary procedures.
doi:10.1111/j.1466-7657.2011.00961.x
PMCID: PMC3418836  PMID: 22591085
Coverage; Education; Guideline; Influenza; Policy; Recommendation; Reimbursement; Seasonal; Vaccine
5.  Vaccination coverage for seasonal influenza among residents and health care workers in Norwegian nursing homes during the 2012/13 season, a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:434.
Background
WHO has set a goal of 75% vaccination coverage (VC) for seasonal influenza for residents and also recommends immunization for all healthcare workers (HCWs) in nursing homes (NHs). We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the VC for seasonal influenza vaccination in Norwegian NHs in 2012/2013 since the VC in NHs and HCWs is unknown.
Methods
We gathered information from NHs concerning VC for residents and HCWs, and vaccination costs for HCWs, using a web-based questionnaire. We calculated VC among NH residents by dividing the number of residents vaccinated by the total number of residents for each NH. VC among HCWs was similarly calculated by dividing the number of HCWs vaccinated by the total number of HCWs for each NH. The association between VC and possible demographic variables were explored.
Results
Of 910 NHs, 354 (38.9%) responded. Median VC per NH was 71.7% (range 0-100) among residents and 0% (range 0-100) among HCWs, with 214 (60%) NHs reporting that none of their HCWs was vaccinated. Median VC for HCWs in NHs with an annual vaccination campaign was 0% (range 0-53), compared to when they did not have an annual vaccination campaign 0% (range 0-12); the distributions in the two groups differed significantly (Mann–Whitney U, P = 0.006 two tailed).
Conclusion
Median influenza VC in Norwegian NHs was marginally lower than recommended among residents and exceptionally low among HCWs. The VC in HCWs was significantly higher when NHs had an annual vaccination campaign. We recommend that NHs implement measures to increase VC among residents and HCWs, including vaccination campaigns and studies to identify potential barriers to vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-434
PMCID: PMC4049507  PMID: 24885662
6.  Influenza vaccination coverage of healthcare workers and residents and their determinants in nursing homes for elderly people in France: a cross-sectional survey 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:159.
Background
Nursing home residents bear a substantial burden of influenza morbidity and mortality. Vaccination of residents and healthcare workers (HCWs) is the main strategy for prevention. Despite recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs remains generally low.
Methods
During the 2007-2008 influenza season, we conducted a nationwide survey to estimate influenza vaccination coverage of HCWs and residents in nursing homes for elderly people in France and to identify determinants of vaccination rates. Multivariate analysis were performed with a negative binomial regression.
Results
Influenza vaccination coverage rates were 33.6% (95% CI: 31.9-35.4) for HCWs and 91% (95% CI: 90-92) for residents. Influenza vaccination uptake of HCWs varied by occupational category. Higher vaccination coverage was found in private elderly care residences, when free vaccination was offered (RR: 1.89, 1.35-2.64), in small nursing homes (RR: 1.54, 1.31-1.81) and when training sessions and staff meetings on influenza were organized (RR: 1.20, 1.11-1.29). The analysis by occupational category showed that some determinants were shared by all categories of professionals (type of nursing homes, organization of training and staff meetings on influenza). Higher influenza vaccination coverage was found when free vaccination was offered to recreational, cleaning, administrative staff, nurses and nurse assistants, but not for physicians.
Conclusions
This nationwide study assessed for the first time the rate of influenza vaccination among residents and HCWs in nursing homes for elderly in France. Better communication on the current recommendations regarding influenza vaccination is needed to increase compliance of HCWs. Vaccination programmes should include free vaccination and education campaigns targeting in priority nurses and nurse assistants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-159
PMCID: PMC2850345  PMID: 20338028
7.  "Will they just pack up and leave?" – attitudes and intended behaviour of hospital health care workers during an influenza pandemic 
Background
There is a general consensus that another influenza pandemic is inevitable. Although health care workers (HCWs) are essential to the health system response, there are few studies exploring HCW attitudes to pandemic influenza. The aim of this study was to explore HCWs knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviour towards pandemic influenza.
Methods
Cross-sectional investigation of a convenience sample of clinical and non-clinical HCWs from two tertiary-referral teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia was conducted between June 4 and October 19, 2007. The self-administered questionnaire was distributed to hospital personal from 40 different wards and departments. The main outcome measures were intentions regarding work attendance and quarantine, antiviral use and perceived preparation.
Results
Respondents were categorized into four main groups by occupation: Nursing (47.5%), Medical (26.0%), Allied (15.3%) and Ancillary (11.2%). Our study found that most HCWs perceived pandemic influenza to be very serious (80.9%, n = 873) but less than half were able to correctly define it (43.9%, n = 473). Only 24.8% of respondents believed their department to be prepared for a pandemic, but nonetheless most were willing to work during a pandemic if a patient or colleague had influenza. The main determinants of variation in our study were occupational factors, demographics and health beliefs. Non-clinical staff were significantly most likely to be unsure of their intentions (OR 1.43, p < 0.001). Only 42.5% (n = 459) of respondents considered that neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications (oseltamivir/zanamivir) would protect them against pandemic influenza, whereas 77.5% (n = 836) believed that vaccination would be of benefit.
Conclusion
We identified two issues that could undermine the best of pandemic plans – the first, a low level of confidence in antivirals as an effective measure; secondly, that non-clinical workers are an overlooked group whose lack of knowledge and awareness could undermine pandemic plans. Other issues included a high level of confidence in dietary measures to protect against influenza, and a belief among ancillary workers that antibiotics would be protective. All health care worker strategies should include non clinical and ancillary staff to ensure adequate business continuity for hospitals. HCW education, psychosocial support and staff communication could improve knowledge of appropriate pandemic interventions and confidence in antivirals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-30
PMCID: PMC2661074  PMID: 19216792
8.  INFLUENZA VACCINATION IN HEALTHCARE WORKERS: 10-YEAR EXPERIENCE OF A LARGE HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATION 
Objective
To describe the results of different measures implemented to improve compliance with the healthcare worker (HCW) influenza immunization program at BJC HealthCare between 1997 and 2007.
Design
Descriptive retrospective study.
Setting
BJC HealthCare, a 13-hospital nonprofit healthcare organization in the Midwest.
Methods
Review and analysis of HCW influenza vaccination data from all BJC HealthCare Occupational Health Services and hospitals between 1997 and 2007. Occupational health staff, infection prevention personnel and key influenza vaccine campaign leaders were also interviewed regarding implementation measures during the study years.
Results
At the end of 2007, BJC HealthCare had approximately 26,000 employees. Using multiple progressive interventions, influenza vaccination rates among BJC employees increased from 45% in 1997 to 71.9% in 2007 (p<0.001). The influenza vaccination rate in 2007 was significantly higher than in 2006, 71.9% versus 54.2% (p<0.001). Five hospitals had influenza vaccination rates over the target goal of 80% in 2007. The most successful interventions were adding influenza vaccination rates to the incented quality scorecard and declination statements, both implemented in 2007. The most important barriers identified in the interviews related to HCWs’ misconceptions about influenza vaccination and a perceived lack of leadership support.
Conclusions
Influenza vaccination rates in HCWs significantly improved with multiple interventions over the years. However, the BJC HealthCare influenza vaccination target of 80% was not attained at all hospitals with these measures. More aggressive interventions such as implementing mandatory influenza vaccination policies are needed to achieve higher vaccination rates.
doi:10.1086/650449
PMCID: PMC3919446  PMID: 20055666
9.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
10.  An effective strategy for influenza vaccination of healthcare workers in Australia: experience at a large health service without a mandatory policy 
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs) is recommended in Australia, but uptake in healthcare facilities has historically been low (approximately 50%). The objective of this study was to develop and implement a dedicated campaign to improve uptake of staff influenza annual vaccination at a large Australian health service.
Methods
A quality improvement program was developed at Alfred Health, a tertiary metropolitan health service spanning 3 campuses. Pre-campaign evaluation was performed by questionnaire in 2013 to plan a multimodal vaccination strategy. Reasons for and against vaccination were captured. A campaign targeting clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers was then implemented between March 31 and July 31 2014. Proportional uptake of influenza vaccination was determined by campus and staff category.
Results
Pre-campaign questionnaire responses were received from 1328/6879 HCWs (response rate 20.4%), of which 76% were vaccinated. Common beliefs held by unvaccinated staff included vaccine ineffectiveness (37.1%), that vaccination makes staff unwell (21.0%), or that vaccination is not required because staff are at low risk for acquiring influenza (20.2%). In 2014, 6009/7480 (80.3%) staff were vaccinated, with significant improvement in uptake across all campuses and amongst nursing, medical and allied health staff categories from 2013 to 2014 (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions
A non-mandatory multimodal strategy utilising social marketing and a customised staff database was successful in increasing influenza vaccination uptake by all staff categories. The sustainability of dedicated campaigns must be evaluated.
doi:10.1186/s12879-015-0765-7
PMCID: PMC4328539  PMID: 25656220
Influenza; Vaccination; Healthcare worker
11.  Influenza Vaccination: Healthcare Workers Attitude in Three Middle East Countries 
Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) pose a potential risk of transmitting communicable diseases in the hospital settings where they usually work. This study aims to determine the current influenza vaccination rates among HCWs in three Middle East countries namely United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Oman, and also to identify the different variables associated with the noncompliance of HCWs to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) set in those countries. Methods: 1500 questionnaires were distributed to health care workers in the three countries during the period of July-October 2009. Results: Among 993 respondents, the vaccination rate was 24.7%, 67.2% and 46.4% in UAE, Kuwait and Oman, respectively. The different motivating factors that influenced the health care workers to take the vaccine was assessed and found that the most common factor that influenced their decision to take the vaccine was for their self protection (59%). On the other hand, the most common reason that discouraged HCWs to take the vaccine was “lack of time” as reported by 31.8% of the respondents. Other reasons for not taking the vaccine were unawareness of vaccine availability (29.4%), unavailability of vaccine (25.4%), doubts about vaccine efficacy (24.9%), lack of information about importance (20.1%) and concerns about its side effects (17.3%). Conclusions: influenza immunization by healthcare workers in the studied countries was suboptimal which could be improved by setting different interventions and educational programs to increase vaccination acceptance among HCWs.
PMCID: PMC2948215  PMID: 20922053
Influenza; healthcare workers; vaccination
12.  A Surveillance System to Reduce Transmission of Pandemic H1N1 (2009) Influenza in a 2600-Bed Medical Center 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32731.
Background
Concerns have been raised about how the transmission of emerging infectious diseases from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs) and vice versa could be recognized and prevented in a timely manner. An effective strategy to block transmission of pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza in HCWs is important.
Methodology/Principal Findings
An infection control program was implemented to survey and prevent nosocomial outbreaks of H1N1 (2009) influenza at a 2,600-bed, tertiary-care academic hospital. In total, 4,963 employees at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital recorded their temperature and received online education on control practices for influenza infections. Administration records provided vaccination records and occupational characteristics of all HCWs. Early recognition of a pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza case was followed by a semi-structured questionnaire to analyze possible routes of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact. Surveillance spanned August 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010; 51 HCWs were confirmed to have novel H1N1 (2009) influenza by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Prevalence of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact infection was 13.7% (7/51), 13.7% (7/51), and 72.5% (37/51), respectively. The prevalence of the novel H1N1 infection was significantly lower among vaccinated HCWs than among unvaccinated HCWs (p<0.001). Higher viral loads in throat swabs were found in HCWs with patient and household contact infection than in those with unspecified contact infection (4.15 vs. 3.53 copies/mL, log10, p = 0.035).
Conclusion
A surveillance system with daily temperature recordings and online education for HCWs is important for a low attack rate of H1N1 (2009) influenza transmission before H1N1 (2009) influenza vaccination is available, and the attack rate is further decreased after mass vaccination. Unspecified contact infection rates were significantly higher than that of patient contact and household contact infection, highlighting the need for public education of influenza transmission in addition to hospital infection control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032731
PMCID: PMC3302803  PMID: 22427871
13.  Predictive factors associated with the acceptance of pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccination in health care workers and students in Tuscany, Central Italy 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(12):2603-2612.
Assessing the beliefs and attitudes of Health Care Workers (HCW) to influenza and influenza vaccination can be useful in overcoming low compliance rates. The purpose of our study is to evaluate the opinion of HCW and students regarding influenza, influenza vaccine and the factors associated with vaccination compliance. A survey was conducted between October 2010 and April 2011 in the Florence metropolitan area. A questionnaire was administered to HCW in three local healthcare units and at Careggi University Teaching Hospital. Students matriculating in health degree programs at Florence University were also surveyed.
The coverage with vaccination against seasonal and pandemic influenza is generally low, and it is lower in students than in HCW (12.5% vs 15% for the seasonal vaccination, 8.5% vs 18% for the pandemic vaccination). Individuals comply with vaccination offer mainly to protect themselves and their contacts. Individuals not receiving vaccination did not consider themselves at risk, had never been vaccinated before or believed that pandemic influenza was not a public health concern. Physicians had the highest compliance to vaccination and women were less frequently vaccinated than men. HCW do not appear to perceive their possible influenza infections as a risk for patients: HCW receive vaccination mainly as a form of personal protection.
Low compliance to vaccination is determined by various factors and therefore requires a multi-faceted strategy of response. This should include short-term actions to overcome organizational barriers, in addition to long-term interventions to raise HCW’s level of knowledge about influenza and influenza vaccination.
doi:10.4161/hv.26036
PMCID: PMC4162047  PMID: 23954990
attitudes towards vaccine; vaccine policy; health care workers; influenza; H1N1; pandemic
14.  Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in a multidisciplinary University hospital in Italy 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:422.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.
Methods
Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.
Results
Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.
Conclusion
Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-422
PMCID: PMC2651144  PMID: 19105838
15.  Did the pandemic have an impact on influenza vaccination attitude? a survey among health care workers 
Background
Health care workers' (HCWs) influenza vaccination attitude is known to be negative. The H1N1 epidemic had started in mid 2009 and made a peak in October-November in Turkey. A national vaccination campaign began on November 2nd, 2009. Despite the diligent efforts of the Ministry of Health and NGOs, the attitudes of the media and politicians were mostly negative. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether HCWs' vaccination attitudes improved during the pandemic and to assess the related factors.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey was carried out at the largest university hospital of the Aegean Region-Turkey. A self-administered questionnaire with 12 structured questions was applied to 807 HCWs (sample coverage 91.3%) before the onset of the vaccination programme. Their final vaccination status was tracked one week afterwards, using immunization records. Factors influencing vaccination rates were analyzed using ANOVA, t-test, chi-square test and logistic regression.
Results
Among 807 participants, 363 (45.3%) were doctors and 293 (36.6%) nurses. A total of 153 (19.0%) had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza in the 2008-2009 season. Regarding H1N1 vaccination, 143 (17.7%) were willing to be vaccinated vs. 357 (44.2%) unwilling. The number of indecisive HCWs was 307 (38.0%) one week prior to vaccination. Only 53 (11.1%) stated that they would vaccinate their children. Possible side effects (78%, n = 519) and lack of comprehensive field evaluation before marketing (77%, n = 508) were the most common reasons underlying unwillingness or hesitation.
Among the 749 staff whose vaccination status could be tracked, 228 (30.4%) actually received the H1N1 vaccine. Some of the 'decided' staff members had changed their mind one week later. Only 82 (60%) of those willing, 108 (37%) of those indecisive and 38 (12%) of those unwilling were vaccinated.
Indecisive HCWs were significantly younger (p = 0.017). Females, nurses, and HCWs working in surgical departments were more likely to reject vaccination (p < 0.05). Doctors, HCWs working in medical departments, and HCWs previously vaccinated against seasonal influenza were more likely to accept vaccination (p < 0.05). Being younger than 50 and having been vaccinated in the previous season were important predictors of attitude towards pandemic influenza vaccination.
Conclusions
Vaccination rates increased substantially in comparison to the previous influenza season. However, vaccination rates could have been even higher since hesitation to be vaccinated increased dramatically within one week (only 60% of those willing and the minority of those indecisive were finally vaccinated). We speculate that this may be connected with negative media at the time.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-87
PMCID: PMC3084177  PMID: 21473763
16.  Assessing Optimal Target Populations for Influenza Vaccination Programmes: An Evidence Synthesis and Modelling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(10):e1001527.
Marc Baguelin and colleagues use virological, clinical, epidemiological, and behavioral data to estimate how policies for influenza vaccination programs may be optimized in England and Wales.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Influenza vaccine policies that maximise health benefit through efficient use of limited resources are needed. Generally, influenza vaccination programmes have targeted individuals 65 y and over and those at risk, according to World Health Organization recommendations. We developed methods to synthesise the multiplicity of surveillance datasets in order to evaluate how changing target populations in the seasonal vaccination programme would affect infection rate and mortality.
Methods and Findings
Using a contemporary evidence-synthesis approach, we use virological, clinical, epidemiological, and behavioural data to develop an age- and risk-stratified transmission model that reproduces the strain-specific behaviour of influenza over 14 seasons in England and Wales, having accounted for the vaccination uptake over this period. We estimate the reduction in infections and deaths achieved by the historical programme compared with no vaccination, and the reduction had different policies been in place over the period. We find that the current programme has averted 0.39 (95% credible interval 0.34–0.45) infections per dose of vaccine and 1.74 (1.16–3.02) deaths per 1,000 doses. Targeting transmitters by extending the current programme to 5–16-y-old children would increase the efficiency of the total programme, resulting in an overall reduction of 0.70 (0.52–0.81) infections per dose and 1.95 (1.28–3.39) deaths per 1,000 doses. In comparison, choosing the next group most at risk (50–64-y-olds) would prevent only 0.43 (0.35–0.52) infections per dose and 1.77 (1.15–3.14) deaths per 1,000 doses.
Conclusions
This study proposes a framework to integrate influenza surveillance data into transmission models. Application to data from England and Wales confirms the role of children as key infection spreaders. The most efficient use of vaccine to reduce overall influenza morbidity and mortality is thus to target children in addition to older adults.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a viral infection of the airways. Most infected individuals recover quickly, but seasonal influenza outbreaks (epidemics) kill about half a million people annually. In countries with advanced health systems, these deaths occur mainly among elderly people and among individuals with long-term illnesses such as asthma and heart disease that increase the risk of complications occurring after influenza virus infection. Epidemics of influenza occur because small but frequent changes in the influenza virus mean that an immune response produced one year through infection provides only partial protection against influenza the following year. Annual immunization with a vaccine that contains killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains can greatly reduce a person's risk of catching influenza by preparing the immune system to respond quickly when challenged by a live influenza virus. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccination programs that, in line with World Health Organization recommendations, target individuals 65 years old and older and people in high-risk groups.
Why Was This Study Done?
Is this approach the best use of available resources? Might, for example, vaccination of children—the main transmitters of influenza—provide more benefit to the whole population than vaccination of elderly people? Vaccination of children would not directly prevent as many influenza-related deaths as vaccination of elderly people, but it might indirectly prevent deaths in elderly adults by inducing herd immunity—vaccination of a large part of a population can protect unvaccinated members of the population by reducing the chances of an infection spreading. Policy makers need to know whether a change to an influenza vaccination program is likely to provide additional population benefits before altering the program. In this evidence synthesis and modeling study, the researchers combine (synthesize) longitudinal influenza surveillance datasets (data collected over time) from England and Wales, develop a mathematical model for influenza transmission based on these data using a Bayesian statistical approach, and use the model to evaluate the impact on influenza infections and deaths of changes to the seasonal influenza vaccination program in England and Wales.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed an influenza transmission model using clinical data on influenza-like illness consultations collected in a primary care surveillance scheme for each week of 14 influenza seasons in England and Wales, virological information on respiratory viruses detected in a subset of patients presenting with clinically suspected influenza, and data on vaccination coverage in the whole population (epidemiological data). They also incorporated data on social contacts (behavioral data) and on immunity to influenza viruses in the population (seroepidemiological data) into their model. To estimate the impact of potential changes to the current vaccination strategy in England and Wales, the researchers used their model, which replicated the patterns of disease observed in the surveillance data, to run simulated epidemics for each influenza season and for three strains of influenza virus under various vaccination scenarios. Compared to no vaccination, the current program (vaccination of people 65 years old and older and people in high-risk groups) averted 0.39 infections per dose of vaccine and 1.74 deaths per 1,000 doses. Notably, the model predicted that extension of the program to target 5–16-year-old children would increase the efficiency of the program and would avert 0.70 infections per dose and 1.95 deaths per 1,000 doses.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The finding that the transmission model developed by the researchers closely fit the available surveillance data suggests that the model should be able to predict what would have happened in England and Wales over the study period if an alternative vaccination regimen had been in place. The accuracy of such predictions may be limited, however, because the vaccination model is based on a series of simplifying assumptions. Importantly, given that influenza vaccination for children is being rolled out in England and Wales from September 2013, the model confirms that children are key spreaders of influenza and suggests that a vaccination program targeting children will reduce influenza infections and potentially influenza deaths in the whole population. More generally, the findings of this study support wider adoption of national vaccination strategies designed to block influenza transmission and to target those individuals most at risk from the complications of influenza infection.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371.journal.pmed.1001527.
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients about seasonal influenza and about vaccination; Public Health England (formerly the Health Protection Agency) provides information on influenza surveillance in the UK, including information about the primary care surveillance database used in this study
The World Health Organization provides information on seasonal influenza (in several languages)
The European Influenzanet is a system to monitor the activity of influenza-like illness with the aid of volunteers via the Internet
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of seasonal influenza, including information about vaccination and about the US influenza surveillance system; its website contains a short video about personal experiences of influenza
Flu.gov, a US government website, provides access to information on seasonal influenza and vaccination
MedlinePlus has links to further information about influenza and about immunization (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001527
PMCID: PMC3793005  PMID: 24115913
17.  Influenza and hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in Croatian hospitals: a series of cross-sectional surveys, 2006–2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:520.
Background
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases. Vaccination lowers morbidity and mortality of HCWs and their patients. To assess vaccination coverage for influenza and hepatitis B virus (HBV) among HCWs in Croatian hospitals, we conducted yearly nationwide surveys.
Methods
From 2006 to 2011, all 66 Croatian public hospitals, representing 43–60% of all the HCWs in Croatia, were included. Statistical analysis was performed using the Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance, Dunn’s multiple comparison analysis and the chi-square test, as appropriate.
Results
The median seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates in pre-pandemic (2006–2008) seasons were 36%, 25% and 29%, respectively. By occupation, influenza vaccination rates among physicians were 33 ± 21%, 33 ± 22% among graduate nurses, 30±34% among other HCWs, 26 ± 21% among housekeeping and the lowest, 23 ± 17%, among practical nurses (p < 0.01). In 2009–2010 season, seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 30%, while overall vaccination coverage against pandemic influenza was fewer than 5%. Median vaccination coverage in the post-pandemic seasons of 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 decreased to 15% and 14%, respectively (reduction of 24% and 35%, respectively, p < 0.0001). Meanwhile, the median mandatory HBV vaccination coverage was 98%, albeit with considerable differences according to work setting (range 19–100%) and occupation (range 4–100%).
Conclusions
We found substantial year-on-year variations in seasonal influenza vaccination rates, with reduction in post pandemic influenza seasons. HBV vaccination is satisfactory compared to seasonal influenza vaccination coverage, although substantial variations by occupation and work setting were observed. These findings highlight the need for national strategies that optimize vaccination coverage among HCWs in Croatian hospitals. Further studies are needed to establish the potential role of mandatory vaccination for seasonal influenza.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-520
PMCID: PMC3840606  PMID: 24192278
Influenza; Hepatitis B; Healthcare workers; Vaccination
18.  Meningococcal, influenza virus, and hepatitis B virus vaccination coverage level among health care workers in Hajj 
Background
The objective of this study was to assess the compliance of health care workers (HCWs) employed in Hajj in receiving the meningococcal, influenza, and hepatitis B vaccines.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey of doctors and nurses working in all Mena and Arafat hospitals and primary health care centers who attended Hajj-medicine training programs immediately before the beginning of Hajj of the lunar Islamic year 1423 (2003) using self-administered structured questionnaire which included demographic data and data on vaccination history.
Results
A total of 392 HCWs were studied including 215 (54.8%) nurses and 177 (45.2%) doctors. One hundred and sixty four (41.8%) HCWs were from Makkah and the rest were recruited from other regions in Saudi Arabia. Three hundred and twenty three (82.4%) HCWs received the quadrivalent (ACYW135) meningococcal meningitis vaccine with 271 (83.9%) HCWs receiving it at least 2 weeks before coming to Hajj, whereas the remaining 52 (16.1%) HCWs received it within < 2 weeks. Only 23 (5.9%) HCWs received the current year's influenza virus vaccine. Two hundred and sixty (66.3%) of HCWs received the three-dose hepatitis B vaccine series, 19.3% received one or two doses, and 14.3% did not receive any dose. There was no statistically significant difference in compliance with the three vaccines between doctors and nurses.
Conclusion
The meningococcal and hepatitis B vaccination coverage level among HCWs in Hajj was suboptimal and the influenza vaccination level was notably low. Strategies to improve vaccination coverage among HCWs should be adopted by all health care facilities in Saudi Arabia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-80
PMCID: PMC1945029  PMID: 17640374
19.  Influenza vaccination of healthcare workers in acute-care hospitals: a case-control study of its effect on hospital-acquired influenza among patients 
Background
In acute-care hospitals, no evidence of a protective effect of healthcare worker (HCW) vaccination on hospital-acquired influenza (HAI) in patients has been documented. Our study objective was to ascertain the effectiveness of influenza vaccination of HCW on HAI among patients.
Methods
A nested case-control investigation was implemented in a prospective surveillance study of influenza-like illness (ILI) in a tertiary acute-care university hospital. Cases were patients with virologically-confirmed influenza occurring ≥ 72 h after admission, and controls were patients with ILI presenting during hospitalisation with negative influenza results after nasal swab testing. Four controls per case, matched per influenza season (2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07), were randomly selected. Univariate and multivariate conditional logistic regression models were fitted to assess factors associated with HAI among patients.
Results
In total, among 55 patients analysed, 11 (20%) had laboratory-confirmed HAI. The median HCW vaccination rate in the units was 36%. The median proportion of vaccinated HCW in these units was 11.5% for cases vs. 36.1% for the controls (P = 0.11); 2 (20%) cases and 21 (48%) controls were vaccinated against influenza in the current season (P = 0.16). The proportion of ≥ 35% vaccinated HCW in short-stay units appeared to protect against HAI among patients (odds ratio = 0.07; 95% confidence interval 0.005-0.98), independently of patient age, influenza season and potential influenza source in the units.
Conclusions
Our observational study indicates a shielding effect of more than 35% of vaccinated HCW on HAI among patients in acute-care units. Investigations, such as controlled clinical trials, are needed to validate the benefits of HCW vaccination on HAI incidence in patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-30
PMCID: PMC3293022  PMID: 22292886
20.  Association between the 2008–09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness during Spring–Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies from Canada 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000258.
In three case-control studies and a household transmission cohort, Danuta Skowronski and colleagues find an association between prior seasonal flu vaccination and increased risk of 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu.
Background
In late spring 2009, concern was raised in Canada that prior vaccination with the 2008–09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) was associated with increased risk of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) illness. Several epidemiologic investigations were conducted through the summer to assess this putative association.
Methods and Findings
Studies included: (1) test-negative case-control design based on Canada's sentinel vaccine effectiveness monitoring system in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec; (2) conventional case-control design using population controls in Quebec; (3) test-negative case-control design in Ontario; and (4) prospective household transmission (cohort) study in Quebec. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for TIV effect on community- or hospital-based laboratory-confirmed seasonal or pH1N1 influenza cases compared to controls with restriction, stratification, and adjustment for covariates including combinations of age, sex, comorbidity, timeliness of medical visit, prior physician visits, and/or health care worker (HCW) status. For the prospective study risk ratios were computed. Based on the sentinel study of 672 cases and 857 controls, 2008–09 TIV was associated with statistically significant protection against seasonal influenza (odds ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.33–0.59). In contrast, estimates from the sentinel and three other observational studies, involving a total of 1,226 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,505 controls, indicated that prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring–summer 2009, with estimated risk or odds ratios ranging from 1.4 to 2.5. Risk of pH1N1 hospitalization was not further increased among vaccinated people when comparing hospitalized to community cases.
Conclusions
Prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring–summer 2009 in Canada. The occurrence of bias (selection, information) or confounding cannot be ruled out. Further experimental and epidemiological assessment is warranted. Possible biological mechanisms and immunoepidemiologic implications are considered.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza—a viral infection of the airways—and hundreds of thousands of people die as a result. These seasonal epidemics occur because small but frequent changes in the influenza virus mean that an immune response produced one year through infection or vaccination provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Annual vaccination with killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains can greatly reduce a person's risk of catching influenza. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccination programs. In most of Canada, vaccination with a mixture of three inactivated viruses (a trivalent inactivated vaccine or TIV) is provided free to children aged 6–23 months, to elderly people, to people with long-term conditions that increase their risk of influenza-related complications, and those who provide care for them; in Ontario, free vaccination is offered to everyone older than 6 months.
In addition, influenza viruses occasionally emerge that are very different and to which human populations have virtually no immunity. These viruses can start global epidemics (pandemics) that can kill millions of people. Experts have been warning for some time that an influenza pandemic is long overdue and, in March 2009, the first cases of influenza caused by a new virus called pandemic A/H1N1 2009 (pH1N1; swine flu) occurred in Mexico. The virus spread rapidly and on 11 June 2009, the World Health Organization declared that a global pandemic of pH1N1 influenza was underway. By the end of February 2010, more than 16,000 people around the world had died from pH1N1.
Why Was This Study Done?
During an investigation of a school outbreak of pH1N1 in the late spring 2009 in Canada, investigators noted that people with illness characterized by fever and coughing had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza more often than individuals without such illness. To assess whether this association between prior vaccination with seasonal 2008–09 TIV and subsequent pH1N1 illness was evident in other settings, researchers in Canada therefore conducted additional studies using different methods. In this paper, the researchers report the results of four additional studies conducted in Canada during the summer of 2009 to assess this possible association.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted four epidemiologic studies. Epidemiology is the study of the causes, distribution, and control of diseases in populations.
Three of the four studies were case-control studies in which the researchers assessed the frequency of prior vaccination with the 2008–09 TIV in people with pH1N1 influenza compared to the frequency among healthy members of the general population or among individuals who had an influenza-like illness but no sign of infection with an influenza virus. The researchers also did a household transmission study in which they collected information about vaccination with TIV among the additional cases of influenza that were identified in 47 households in which a case of laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 influenza had occurred. The first of the case-control studies, which was based on Canada's vaccine effectiveness monitoring system, showed that, as expected, the 2008–09 TIV provided protection against seasonal influenza. However, estimates from all four studies (which included about 1,200 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,500 controls) showed that prior recipients of the 2008–09 TIV had approximately 1.4–2.5 times increased chances of developing pH1N1 illness that needed medical attention during the spring–summer of 2009 compared to people who had not received the TIV. Prior seasonal vaccination was not associated with an increase in the severity of pH1N1 illness, however. That is, it did not increase the risk of being hospitalized among those with pH1N1 illness.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Because all the investigations in this study are “observational,” the people who had been vaccinated might share another unknown characteristic that is actually responsible for increasing their risk of developing pH1N1 illness (“confounding”). Furthermore, the results reported in this study might have arisen by chance, although the consistency of results across the studies makes this unlikely. Thus, the finding of an association between prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV and an increased risk of pH1N1 illness is not conclusive and needs to be investigated further, particularly since some other observational studies conducted in other countries have reported that seasonal vaccination had no influence or may have been associated with reduced chances of pH1N1 illness. If the findings in the current study are real, however, they raise important questions about the biological interactions between seasonal and pandemic influenza strains and vaccines, and about the best way to prevent and control both types of influenza in future.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258.
This article is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Lone Simonsen
FightFlu.ca, a Canadian government Web site, provides access to information on pH1N1 influenza
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about influenza for patients and professionals, including specific information on H1N1 influenza
Flu.gov, a US government website, provides access to information on H1N1, avian and pandemic influenza
The World Health Organization provides information on seasonal influenza and has detailed information on pH1N1 influenza (in several languages)
The UK Health Protection Agency provides information on pandemic influenza and on pH1N1 influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258
PMCID: PMC2850386  PMID: 20386731
21.  Incidence of Influenza in Healthy Adults and Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26239.
Background
Working in healthcare is often considered a risk factor for influenza; however, this risk has not been quantified. We aimed to systematically review evidence describing the annual incidence of influenza among healthy adults and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Methods and Findings
We searched OVID MEDLINE (1950 to 2010), EMBASE (1947 to 2010) and reference lists of identified articles. Observational studies or randomized trials reporting full season or annual influenza infection rates for healthy, working age adult subjects and HCWs were included. Influenza infection was defined as a four-fold rise in antibody titer, or positive viral culture or polymerase chain reaction.
From 24,707 citations, 29 studies covering 97 influenza seasons with 58,245 study participants were included. Pooled influenza incidence rates (IR) (95% confidence intervals (CI)) per 100 HCWs per season and corresponding incidence rate ratios (IRR) (95% CI) as compared to healthy adults were as follows. All infections: IR 18.7 (95% CI, 15.8 to 22.1), IRR 3.4 (95% CI, 1.2 to 5.7) in unvaccinated HCWs; IR 6.5 (95% CI, 4.6 to 9.1), IRR 5.4 (95% CI, 2.8 to 8.0) in vaccinated HCWs. Symptomatic infections: IR 7.5 (95% CI, 4.9 to 11.7), IRR 1.5 (95% CI, 0.4 to 2.5) in unvaccinated HCWs, IR 4.8 (95% CI, 3.2 to 7.2), IRR 1.6 (95% CI, 0.5 to 2.7) in vaccinated HCWs.
Conclusions
Compared to adults working in non-healthcare settings, HCWs are at significantly higher risk of influenza.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026239
PMCID: PMC3196543  PMID: 22028840
22.  Acceptance of a Vaccine Against Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Among Health Care Workers in Two Major Cities in Mexico 
Archives of medical research  2009;40(8):705-711.
Background and Aims
Further cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) outbreak are expected in the coming months. Vaccination has been proven to be essential to control a pandemic of influenza; therefore, considerable efforts and resources have been devoted to develop a vaccine against the influenza A (H1N1) virus. With the current availability of the vaccine, it will be important to immunize as many people as possible. However, previous data with seasonal influenza vaccines have shown that there are multiple barriers related to perceptions and attitudes of the population that influence vaccine use. The aim of the study was to evaluate the acceptance of a newly developed vaccine against pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza A among healthcare workers (HCW) in Mexico.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study among HCW in three hospitals in the two largest cities in Mexico—Mexico City and Guadalajara—between June and September 2009.
Results
A total of 1097 HCW participated in the survey. Overall, 80% (n = 880) intended to accept the H1N1 pandemic vaccine and 71.6% (n = 786) reported they would recommend the vaccine to their patients. Doctors were more likely to accept and recommend the vaccine than nurses. HCWs who intend to be immunized will be more likely to do so if they know that the vaccine is safe and effective.
Conclusions
Knowledge of the willingness to accept the vaccine can be used to plan strategies that will effectively respond to the needs of the population studied, reducing the health and economic impact of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus.
doi:10.1016/j.arcmed.2010.01.004
PMCID: PMC2854164  PMID: 20304260
Vaccine acceptance; Influenza A (H1N1) virus; Health care workers
23.  Determinants of influenza vaccination uptake among Italian healthcare workers 
We analyzed seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among the Italian healthcare workers (HCW) in order to identify socio-demographic and clinical determinants of vaccination.
We used data from the survey “Health and health care use in Italy,” which comprised interviews of 5,336 HCWs For each respondent, information on socioeconomic, health conditions, self-perceived health and smoking status were obtained. After bivariate analysis, we used multilevel regression models to assess determinants of immunization. Overall 20.8% of HCWs (95%CI 19.7–21.9) reported being vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
After controlling for potential confounders, multilevel regression revealed that older workers have a higher likelihood of vaccine uptake (OR = 6.07; 95% CI 4.72–7.79). Conversely, higher education was associated with lower vaccine uptake (OR = 0.65; 95% IC 0.50–0.83). Those suffering from diabetes (OR = 2.07; 95% CI 1.19–1.69), COPD (OR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.31–2.89) and cardiovascular diseases (OR = 1.48 95% CI 1.11–1.96) were more likely to be vaccinated. Likewise, smokers, or former smokers receive more frequently the vaccination (OR = 1.40; 95% CI 1.15–1.70; OR = 1.54; 95% CI 1.24–1.91, respectively) compared with never-smokers as well as those HCWs reporting fair or poor perceived health status (ORs of 1.68, 95% CI 1.30–2.18).
Vaccine coverage among HCWs in Italy remains low, especially among those with no comorbidities and being younger than 44 y old. This behavior not only raises questions regarding healthcare organization, infection control in healthcare settings and clinical costs, but also brings up ethical issues concerning physicians who seem not to be very concerned about the impact of the flu on themselves, as well as on their patients. Influenza vaccination campaigns will only be effective if HCWs understand their role in influenza transmission and prevention, and realize the importance of vaccination as a preventive measure
doi:10.4161/hv.22997
PMCID: PMC3903913  PMID: 24064543
administration and dosage; attitude of health personnel; health behavior; human prevention and control; influenza; influenza vaccines; socioeconomic factors
24.  Effectiveness of a multimodal hand hygiene campaign and obstacles to success in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 
Background
Hand hygiene is the cornerstone of infection control and reduces rates of healthcare associated infection. There are limited data evaluating hand hygiene adherence and hand hygiene campaign effect in resource-limited settings, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study assessed the impact of implementing a World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended multimodal hand hygiene campaign at a hospital in Ethiopia.
Methods
This study included a before-and-after assessment of health care worker (HCW) adherence with WHO hand hygiene guidelines. It was implemented in three phases: 1) baseline evaluation of hand hygiene adherence and hospital infrastructure; 2) intervention (distribution of commercial hand sanitizer and implementation of an abbreviated WHO-recommended multimodal hand hygiene campaign); and 3) post-intervention evaluation of HCW hand hygiene adherence. HCWs’ perceptions of the campaign and hand sanitizer tolerability were assessed through a survey performed in the post-intervention period.
Results
At baseline, hand washing materials were infrequently available, with only 20% of sinks having hand-washing materials. There was a significant increase in hand hygiene adherence among HCWs following implementation of a WHO multimodal hand hygiene program. Adherence increased from 2.1% at baseline (21 hand hygiene actions/1000 opportunities for hand hygiene) to 12.7% (127 hand hygiene actions /1000 opportunities for hand hygiene) after the implementation of the hand hygiene campaign (OR = 6.8, 95% CI 4.2-10.9). Hand hygiene rates significantly increased among all HCW types except attending physicians. Independent predictors of HCW hand hygiene compliance included performing hand hygiene in the post-intervention period (aOR = 5.7, 95% CI 3.5-9.3), in the emergency department (aOR = 4.9, 95% CI 2.8-8.6), during patient care that did not involve Attending Physician Rounds (aOR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.2-4.5), and after patient contact (aOR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.4-3.3). In the perceptions survey, 64.0% of HCWs indicated preference for commercially manufactured hand sanitizer and 71.4% indicated their hand hygiene adherence would improve with commercial hand sanitizer.
Conclusions
There was a significant increase in hand hygiene adherence among Ethiopian HCWs following the implementation of a WHO-recommended multimodal hand hygiene campaign. Dissatisfaction with the current WHO-formulation for hand sanitizer was identified as a barrier to hand hygiene adherence in our setting.
doi:10.1186/2047-2994-3-8
PMCID: PMC4004416  PMID: 24636693
Hand hygiene; Ethiopia; World Health Organization; Infection control; Health personnel
25.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Background:
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Results:
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
Conclusion:
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.59247
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers

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