BACKGROUND: Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) using neuraminidase inhibitors against exposure to influenza virus has been well studied in household settings but not in nosocomial settings in pediatric wards. METHODS: We used oseltamivir or zanamivir as PEP in our pediatric wards. All influenza cases were diagnosed by the influenza rapid diagnostic test. RESULTS: Between 2003 and 2011, there were 20 nosocomial introductions of influenza (10 were A, 9 were B and 1 was undetermined). The index cases consisted of 17 inpatients, 2 parents and 1 medical staff member. The 17 inpatients had been admitted to the hospital for reasons other than infectious disease and they developed influenza after hospitalization. Among the 81 contacts, 28 (35%) were exposed to influenza A, and 52 (64%) were exposed to influenza B. The rate of secondary infection among contacts not given PEP was 29% (5/17), and the rate among contacts given PEP was significantly lower, 3% (2/63; P = 0.004). The 2 infected contacts who had been given PEP were both influenza B cases, and both had received oseltamivir. The contacts who received PEP within 24 hours (59), for influenza A (23) and those who received zanamivir (15) did not develop influenza. No adverse events were reported. CONCLUSIONS: PEP using oseltamivir or zanamivir for unexpected occurrences of nosocomial influenza in pediatric wards is safe and effective. The influenza rapid diagnostic test that we used was helpful for detecting nosocomial influenza in children.
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