Clifton Bingham, MD and Vicky Ruffing, RN discuss the Seasonal and Novel N1N1 flu and potential impact on the rheumatology community. Information is focused on the immunizations, delivery systems, and targeted populations.
LATEST VACCINATION UPDATES: CDC Web Site
ACR Releases Hotline on H1N1 Virus Infection and Vaccination for Rheumatic Disease Patients
Rheumatic disease patients, by virtue of their chronic disease state or a consequence of immunotherapies, are at heightened risk for contracting and suffering adverse sequellae of H1N1 viral infection. Anticipating the needs of rheumatology practitioners, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has recently released a hotline outlining the current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for vaccination, treatment of suspected infection with H1N1, and empiric therapy after exposure. Highlights of the document are:
- Almost all patients with systemic inflammatory and/or autoimmune rheumatic diseases, or those treated with any immunomodulating therapies are candidates for H1N1 vaccination, treatment with antivirals in the setting of presumptive symptoms, and empiric antiviral therapy after exposure to infected contacts.
- These same individuals are also appropriate to receive seasonal influenza vaccination
- Live, attenuated influenza vaccines (i.e. the nasally administered vaccines) are not recommended for those treated with immunotherapies or in contact with immunosuppressed individuals.
- Patients receiving immunotherapies may have a reduced response to vaccination, but most will have a response adequate to reduce the risk of infection.