Experiences With Influenza-Like Illness and Attitudes Regarding Influenza Prevention--United States, 2003-04 Influenza Season

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Despite advances in medical treatment, influenza results in approximately 36,000 deaths each year in the United States. Vaccination has been a mainstay of influenza prevention, with annual vaccination recommended for adults and children at high risk; efforts to interrupt person-to-person transmission are also important. In October 2003, CDC recommended that health-care facilities implement a Universal Respiratory Hygiene Strategy, including providing masks or facial tissues in waiting rooms to persons with respiratory symptoms. To gather information on influenza-like illness (ILI) and attitudes regarding prevention of ILI (including use of vaccine and respiratory hygiene), CDC and 11 Emerging Infections Programs (EIPs) conducted a random-digit-dialed telephone survey of noninstitutionalized U.S. civilian adults in February 2004. This report summarizes the results of that survey, which determined that 43% of adults and 69% of children aged 6 months-17 years with ILI visited a health-care provider for the illness. Eight percent of adults with ILI reported having been asked by a health-care provider to wear a mask; 82% said they would wear a mask if requested. With the limited availability of influenza vaccine this season, the use of masks by persons with cough illnesses in health-care settings, a component of the Universal Respiratory Hygiene Strategy, might be a helpful and acceptable method for decreasing influenza transmission.

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MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report





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open access