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J Oncol Pract. 2019 Apr;15(4):177-184. doi: 10.1200/JOP.18.00567.

Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Influenza Infection in Oncology Patients.

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1 University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE.


Influenza infection causes increased morbidity and higher mortality in patients receiving treatment of underlying cancer, particularly in those with hematological malignancy or patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. The illness is characterized by seasonality and nonspecific clinical manifestations of upper respiratory infection at a time when other respiratory illnesses are common in the community, making the diagnosis challenging. However, accurate and timely diagnosis by new molecular techniques is crucial in the management of immunocompromised patients, because delays in initiating appropriate therapy can have devastating consequences. Emergence of viral resistance to currently used antiviral agents is of concern, particularly in immunocompromised hosts, and warrants continued monitoring and surveillance. Early and effective treatment improves outcomes, but optimal therapeutic strategies in patients with cancer are not well defined. Health care and research efforts should focus on defining treatment guidelines in patients with cancer and attempt to improve on current vaccination strategies.


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