Transmission of influenza: implications for control in health care settings

Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 15;37(8):1094-101. doi: 10.1086/378292. Epub 2003 Sep 19.


Annual influenza epidemics in the United States result in an average of >36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations. Influenza can spread rapidly to patients and health care personnel in health care settings after influenza is introduced by visitors, staff, or patients. Influenza outbreaks in health care facilities can have potentially devastating consequences, particularly for immunocompromised persons. Although vaccination of health care personnel and patients is the primary means to prevent and control outbreaks of influenza in health care settings, antiviral influenza medications and isolation precautions are important adjuncts. Although droplet transmission is thought to be the primary mode of influenza transmission, limited evidence is available to support the relative clinical importance of contact, droplet, and droplet nuclei (airborne) transmission of influenza. In this article, the results of studies on the modes of influenza transmission and their relevant isolation precautions are reviewed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Cross Infection / transmission*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission*


  • Influenza Vaccines