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Pandemic influenza and pregnant women: Summary of a meeting of experts

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Pandemic influenza is a viral disease caused by influenza virus spread worldwide. Appropriate guidance and health care prevents pregnant women from acquiring pandemic influenza. Fetal effects of medications or vaccines are the main concerns of health care providers for treating influenza during pregnancy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted meeting in 2008 to obtain the information from experts and key partners about clinical management of pregnant women and health related actions during the pandemic. Health care professionals stated that pregnant women are at an increased risk for influenza-associated with complications causing pregnancy loss and death.

Pregnant women are high-priority population for the treatment of influenza. Treatments are considered mainly by the resistance patterns and availability of medication. Experts recommended acetaminophen as the drug of choice and no alteration is suggested for the treatment of influenza –associated fever. Anti-influenza medications such as oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine, and rimantadine are to be prescribed in pregnant women during a pandemic. Evidence based studies are not stated for the dosage adjustments; therefore no alterations are recommended for the dosage at any time during pregnancy.

Vaccination is considered as the most effective method for preventing severe influenza illness. Federal government guidelines state that pregnant women are the highest-priority groups to receive vaccination for all levels of pandemic severity. Treatment should not be withheld waiting for results of diagnostic testing. Trivalent inactivated vaccine is approved for everyone aged six months or older in seasonal influenza and is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for pregnant women also. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other professional organizations recommended that all women who are pregnant during influenza season should be administered the trivalent inactivated vaccine, regardless of pregnancy trimester.

Masks, personal protective equipments, cough etiquette, and hand hygiene are precautionary measures to be followed by the pregnant women and general population for the control of infection. Pregnant women working at high risk professions such as nurse or physician caring for hospitalized patients should be aware of direct contact with influenza patients and should take precautionary measures or avoid such duties. Separate suites for labor and delivery for postpartum care in infected and uninfected women should be followed.

Health care facilities, public health agencies and individual health experts should work together for better outcomes plans.

Pregnant women should understand the knowledge, attitude and behaviors regarding the influenza pandemic. Appropriate guidance should be provided by the healthcare experts regarding the issue of influenza pandemic in pregnant women.

Source: http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/full/99/S2/S248

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 08, 2014

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