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Am J Med. 1997 Mar 17;102(3A):48-52; discussion 53-4.

Infection control of nosocomial respiratory viral disease in the immunocompromised host.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Among immunocompromised adults, such as bone marrow transplant recipients, more than half of respiratory viral infections are complicated by pneumonia, with an associated mortality rate > 50%. Nosocomial transmission of respiratory viral pathogens, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, in the immunocompromised patient has been reported frequently and usually occurs during a community outbreak. In view of the poor outcome in this subset of patients, intensive efforts should be directed at instituting prevention measures that would interrupt nosocomial transmission. At M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a multifaceted infection control strategy resulted in a significant decrease in and almost complete interruption of the nosocomial transmission of RSV infections in immunocompromised patients over a 3-year period (1994-1996). For influenza virus, special emphasis should be given to vaccination of hospital personnel before the influenza season to prevent and control nosocomial transmission. In highly immunocompromised patients, prophylactic use of antiviral agents should be considered during an outbreak or when the frequency of nosocomial transmission is high. An aggressive multifaceted infection control strategy appears to be effective in reducing the frequency of nosocomial transmission of respiratory viral infections in immunocompromised patients. Universal and timely influenza vaccination of hospital personnel who care for immunocompromised patients is necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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