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Maja Subelj

Maja Subelj

National Institute of Public Health of Slovenia, Slovenia

Title: Outbreak of influenza A (H3N2) in a residence for mentally disabled persons in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2013

Biography

Maja Subelj With background as a Medical Doctor and completed PhD Interdisciplinary Biomedical Doctoral Study at the University of Ljubljana I presently work as a Public Health Specialist at the National Institute of Public Health of Slovenia. I am included in the infectious diseases surveillance, response to public health threats, public health training, and hospital acquired infections control. In my present post, I build on the knowledge and experience in the communication and cooperation with general and professional public at the local, regional and national level, including publications in scientific journals.

Abstract

Background: In January 2013, a residence for mentally disabled persons reported a suspected outbreak of influenza. We carried out an outbreak investigation to describe the outbreak and to recommend control measures. Methods: We conducted descriptive epidemiology of the outbreak; a case was a resident or staff of the residence for mentally disabled with fever (≥38◦C) and cough and/or sore throat between 25 and 29 January 2013. Specimens were tested for respiratory pathogens, including influenza viruses.Control measures were taken to contain the infection. Results: A total of 13 persons presented with influenza–like illness symptoms, the aetiology proved influenza A (H3N2) virus. Twopersons were hospitalized due to severe pneumonia. The overall attack rate was 17%. The first cases were among staff. The residents were ill at the peak of the outbreak, and among staff the presentation was more dispersed. None of the staff and only five of the residents had been vaccinated. Conclusions: Staff possibly have initiated and contributed to the maintenance of transmission. We highlight the need to comply with vaccination recommendations, especially for staff working with persons with risk factors.

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