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עמוד בית
Sat, 15.06.24

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September 2016
Keren Cohen-Hagai MD, Ilan Rozenberg MD, Ze'ev Korzets MBBS, Tali Zitman-Gal PhD, Yael Einbinder MD and Sydney Benchetrit MD

Background: Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) occurs frequently in the general population and is considered a benign self-limited disease. Dialysis patients constitute a high risk population whose morbidity and mortality rate as a result of URTI is unknown. 

Objectives: To assess the local incidence, morbidity and mortality of URTI in dialysis patients compared to the general population. 

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study we reviewed the charts of all chronic dialysis patients diagnosed with URTI at Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel during the 2014–2015 winter season. 

Results: Among 185 dialysis patients, 40 were found to be eligible for the study. The average age was 66.1 ± 15.7 years, and the co-morbidity index was high. Influenza A was the most common pathogen found, followed by rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and para-influenza. Of the 40 patients 21 (52.5%) developed complications: pneumonia in 20%, hospitalization in 47.5%, and respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation in 12.5%. Overall mortality was 10%. General population data during the same seasonal period showed a peak pneumonia incidence of 4.4% compared to 20% in the study population (P < 0.0001). 

Conclusions: The study findings show that compared to the general population, URTI in dialysis patients is a much more severe disease and has a higher complication rate. Influenza A, the most common pathogen, is associated with a worse prognosis. 

 

January 2016
Zaher Atamna MD, Bibiana Chazan MD, Orna Nitzan MD, Raul Colodner PhD, Hila Kfir MD, Merav Strauss PhD, Naama Schwartz PhD and Arie Markel MD

Background: Recent studies show that vaccination of health care workers (HCW) might reduce influenza transmission and mortality among hospitalized patients. No studies have compared the incidence of laboratory-proven influenza in vaccinated versus unvaccinated hospital HCW. 

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of influenza vaccination among hospital HCW and to examine the attitudes of this population towards influenza vaccination.

Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study between 1 January and 30 April 2014 of 1641 HCW at our medical center; 733 were vaccinated and 908 not vaccinated. A random sample of 199 subjects was obtained: 97 vaccinated and 102 non-vaccinated. Participating individuals were contacted on a weekly basis during the flu season and were asked to report any respiratory or flu symptoms and, if positive, to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for influenza. 

Results: In the general HCW population, vaccination was more frequent among physicians 298/498 (58%) than among nurses (324/862 (38%) and among males than females. Flu symptoms were reported by 20 of 199 participants, 13 in the non-vaccinated group (12.7%) and 7 in the vaccinated group (7.2%). A positive PCR test for influenza A virus was present in 4 of 20 people tested (20%). All positive cases were from the non-vaccinated group (P = 0.0953). 

Conclusions: Non-vaccinated HCW showed a higher, although not statistically significant, tendency for contracting laboratory-proven influenza than the vaccinated population. The main reasons for vaccination and non-vaccination were personal beliefs and habits. Education efforts are needed to improve compliance. Larger studies could further clarify this issue.

 

November 2012
June 2011
Z.H. Abramson, O. Avni, O. Levi and I.N. Miskin

Background: Influenza vaccination of community-dwelling elderly is widely recommended. Observational studies have shown a strong association between physicians' personal vaccination status and their reported level of recommendation to patients and possibly their patients' actual vaccination. No published trials have examined whether increasing vaccination rates of primary care staff raises vaccination among their patients. Proof of a positive effect would support the notion that vaccinating health care workers benefits their patients.

Objectives: To examine whether an intervention to increase staff vaccination also increases vaccination of their patients aged 65 and over.

Methods: A trial examining an intervention aiming to raise staff immunization rates was performed in primary care community clinics in the Jerusalem area. The study population comprised the staff of 13 randomly chosen intervention clinics during the season of 2007–2008, with another 14 clinics serving as controls. The intervention resulted in a staff vaccination rate of 52.8% compared to 26.5% in the control clinics (66.1% and 32.2% among physicians). No intervention was directed at the patients. Data on patient vaccination and other patient characteristics were extracted from the health funds’ computerized databases.

Results: The percentage of patients vaccinated during the intervention season was 57.8% in both intervention and control groups, reflecting an increase of 14.4% compared to the previous season in the intervention clinics and of 13.4% in the control clinics. Logistic regression demonstrated a statistically significant association between intervention and patient vaccination with an odds ratio of 1.10 (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.18). However, analysis adjusting for clustering did not show a significant association.

Conclusions: Increasing influenza vaccination of the medical staff did not substantially increase patient vaccination. These results do not show any patient benefit from staff vaccination in primary care.
 

June 2010
J. Dubnov, W. Kassabri, B. Bisharat and S. Rishpon

Background: Health care workers bear the risk of both contracting influenza from patients and transmitting it to them. Although influenza vaccine is the most effective and safest public health measure against influenza and its complications, and despite recommendations that HCWs[1] should be vaccinated, influenza vaccination coverage among them remains low.

Objectives: To characterize influenza vaccination coverage and its determinants among employees in an Arab hospital in Israel.

Methods: An anonymous, self-administered questionnaire was distributed among employees involved in patient care in the winter of 2004–2005 at Nazareth Hospital in Israel. The questionnaire included items related to health demographic characteristics, health behaviors and attitudes, knowledge and attitude concerning influenza vaccination, and whether the respondent had received the influenza vaccine during the previous winter or any other winter.

Results: The overall rate of questionnaire return was 66%; 256 employees participated in the study. The immunization coverage rate was 16.4%, similar to that reported for other hospitals in Israel. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant association only between influenza vaccination coverage and the presence of chronic illness and influenza vaccination in the past.

Conclusions: Influenza vaccination coverage among Nazareth Hospital health care workers was low. They did not view themselves as different to the general population with regard to vaccination. An intervention program was launched after the study period, aimed at increasing the knowledge on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, stressing the importance of vaccinating HCWs, and administering the vaccine at the workplace. The program raised the vaccination coverage to 50%.






[1] HCWs = health care workers


October 2003
Y. Shapiro, J. Shemer, A. Heymann, V. Shalev, N. Maharshak, G. Chodik, M.S. Green and E. Kokia

Background: Upper respiratory tract illnesses have been associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

Objective: To assess the influence of vaccination against influenza on the risk of hospitalization in internal medicine and geriatric wards, and the risk of death from all causes during the 2000–2001 influenza season.

Methods: A historical cohort study was conducted using computerized general practitioner records on patients aged 65 years and above, members of “Maccabi Health Care Services” – the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel with 1.6 million members. The patients were divided into high and low risk groups corresponding to coexisting conditions, and were studied. Administrative and clinical data were used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Of the 84,613 subjects in the cohort 42.8% were immunized. At baseline, vaccinated subjects were sicker and had higher rates of coexisting conditions than unvaccinated subjects. Vaccination against influenza was associated with a 30% reduction in hospitalization rates and 70% in mortality rates in the high risk group. The NNT (number needed to treat) measured to prevent one hospitalization was 53.2 (28.2 in the high risk group and 100.4 in the low risk group). When referring to length of hospitalization, one vaccine was needed to prevent 1 day of hospitalization among the high risk group. Analyses according to age and the presence or absence of major medical conditions at baseline revealed similar findings across all subgroups.

Conclusions: In the elderly, vaccination against influenza is associated with a reduction in both the total risk of hospitalization and in the risk of death from all causes during the influenza season. These findings compel the rationale to increase compliance with recommendations for annual influenza vaccination among the elderly.

December 2000
Sonia Habib, MD, MPH, Shmuel Rishpon, MD, MPH and Lisa Rubin, MD, MPH
 Objective: To determine the vaccination rates among healthcare workers in the Haifa subdistrict and to assess factors associated with vaccination uptake among them.

Methods: The study was conducted in the three general hospitals in Haifa City, and in five nursing homes in the Haifa subdistrict. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 1,014 employees of whom 71% were females, 34% were nurses, 27% were physicians and 28% were non-professional workers.

Results: The crude response rate was 66%. Response rates were higher in females (71%) than in males (49%), in nurses (70%) than in physicians (43%), and in staff of internal and pediatric departments than in workers of surgery departments and emergency rooms. The overall vaccination rate among the respondents was 11%, which was higher among males (15%) than among females (10%). No significant relationship between vaccination rate and age, occupation and department was found. The vaccination rate among employees with chronic illness was very low (7%). Influenza vaccine was actively recommended to 29% of the employees. The main reasons for non-compliance were low awareness of the severity of the disease and of the vaccine's efficacy and safety, and unavailability of the vaccine within the workplace.

Conclusions: Educational efforts and offering the vaccine at the workplace at no cost are the most important measures for raising influenza vaccination rates.

Zvi H. Abramson, MD, MPH and Vered Cohen-Naor, MD
 Background: Influenza is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. While immunization has been shown to reduce these complications, many of the elderly are not immunized.

Objective: To identify correlates for under-utilization of influenza immunization among the elderly.

Methods: A telephone survey was conducted among a random sample of patients aged 65 and over registered at a Jerusalem primary care community clinic. The 626 questionnaires were analyzed for associations of immunization receipt for the latest influenza season. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify independent correlates. Respondents were also asked what factors had influenced their decision about immunization.

Results: The most frequently reported influence on getting immunized was a physician's recommendation. Immunization was independently associated with the identity of the primary care physician (P0.0001) and with having visited the physician during the previous 3 months (P=0.0006). Immunization was more likely among persons who believed that it provides complete protection from influenza (P0.0001) and less likely among those who believed immunization can cause influenza (P0.0001). Higher immunization rates were also associated with being married (P=0.0031).

Conclusion: Through their influence on patient knowledge and the effect of their recommendation, primary care physicians play a pivotal role in determining immunization rates. Physicians should routinely discuss the effects of immunization and recommend it to the elderly.

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