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Incidence and recall of influenza in a cohort of Glasgow healthcare workers during the 1993–4 epidemic: results of serum testing and questionnaire

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7067.1241 (Published 16 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1241
  1. Alexander G Elder, senior registrar in occupational medicinea,
  2. Barbara O'Donnell, senior medical laboratory scientific officerb,
  3. Elizabeth A B McCruden, senior lecturer in virologyc,
  4. Ian S Symington, director and consultant in occupational medicinea,
  5. William F Carman, senior lecturer in virologyc
  1. a Glasgow Occupational Health, Stobhill NHS Trust, Glasgow G1 1JA
  2. b Department of Clinical Microbiology, West Glasgow Hospitals University NHS Trust
  3. c Institute of Virology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G11 5JR
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Carman.
  • Accepted 16 October 1996

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocate annual influenza immunisation for all healthcare workers in contact with vulnerable patients.1 The health departments in the United Kingdom, however, advise immunising only people with risk factors.2 Little evidence exists to support or refute a policy of immunisation for such healthcare workers, and, although influenza outbreaks have been documented, epidemiological data concerning influenza in healthcare workers are lacking. We aimed principally to determine the incidence of influenza in a cohort of healthcare workers. As prevention of cross infection is one of the main arguments in favour of immunisation of healthcare workers, we also estimated the proportion of asymptomatic infection by linking recall of illness with serological results.

Subjects, methods, and results

The study population consisted of all 970 healthcare workers at four acute hospitals in Glasgow who had serum stored for a routine post-vaccination test for antibody to hepatitis B between 1 February and 26 …

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