Hong Kong Med J 2013;19(Suppl 4):S15-8
Influenza virus load in hospitalised patients
N Lee, PKS Chan, TH Rainer, D Hui, KW Choi, CS Cockram
Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
1. Hospitalised patients with severe influenza have persistently high viral loads, for whom a different therapeutic approach may be needed.
2. Active screening of influenza infection should be performed in all high-risk patients hospitalised with febrile respiratory illness. Early diagnosis and treatment to suppress the high viral load may maximise clinical benefit.
3. For late presenting high- risk patients with severe symptoms, their viral load may remain high, and initiation of antiviral treatment may still be worthwhile.
4. More stringent infection control measures, including strict droplet precautions and preferably isolation for an extended period of time may be necessary owing to prolonged viral shedding.
5. Randomised, controlled trials are indicated to address timing and dosage of treatment for severe influenza infection.