Outbreak of H1N1 Influenza among the
Health Care Personnel in a
Tertiary Care Hospital
#34/1 Sree Ram Mandir Road
Phone No: 9845720258
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Context: During the spring of 2009, a pandemic of H1N1 influenza, which is popularly called as swine flu, emerged in Mexico and it spread worldwide. This affected not only the community at large, but also the health care providers who attended to these cases. Aims: We report here, the occurrence of the H1N1 infection among the health care personnel (HCP) who were working in our hospital.
Settings and Design: This study was conducted in the Department of Microbiology of a tertiary care, referral, teaching hospital. The study design was an observational report of the case series.
Materials and Methods: A total of 107 suspected cases of H1N1 influenza were screened between August 2009 and November 2010, of which 31 were health care personnel. The throat and nasal swabs were collected in viral transport media and were sent to a government designated, referral laboratory for testing and confirmation by the Polymerase Chain Reaction.
Results: Of the 31 health care personnel who were screened, 7(22.6%) were confirmed as positive for H1N1 influenza. The maximum number of cases occurred in the age group of 15-45 years and all the health care workers who were positive were male doctors, except one, a female nurse. None of the health care workers had used personal protective equipment (PPE).
Conclusions: Healthcare personnel are at increased risk of occupational exposure to the H1N1 virus, based on their likelihood of encountering the patients with this illness. The H1N1 influenza virus caused a greater disease in younger people, which included those in the age range of most of the healthcare personnel. The PPE should be worn by all the health care workers during the initial contact with any patient with an unknown health status.