Infection Control Precautions for Avian Influenza
MDH recommends that healthcare workers use full barrier precautions, including respirators, when working with known or suspect avian or pandemic influenza patients.
Suspect case? Call MDH anytime at 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414.
On this page:
Full barrier precautions
Initial contact with suspect avian or pandemic case
Aerosol generating procedures
Infection control guidelines
PPE letters for health care institutions
Standard precautions, the minimum level of precautions that are used in all health care facilities, can protect health care workers from becoming infected.
MDH recommends airborne and contact precautions, plus eye protection, in addition to standard precautions (“full barrier precautions”) for all known and suspect avian and pandemic influenza patients.
As soon as you suspect that a patient may have avian influenza, follow these infection control guidelines:
- Place a surgical mask on the patient, if tolerated.
- Place patient in a private room with the door closed; use a negative pressure room if available.
- Use full barrier protection for any interactions with patient:
- Limit patient's contact with others as much as possible, and make note of healthcare workers who had contact with patient.
- Call MDH at 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414
Aerosol-generating procedures facilitate airborne transmission of influenza. Such procedures may induce coughing, which increases the likelihood of droplet nuclei being expelled into the air. Examples of aerosol-generating procedures include:
- aerosolized medication treatments (e.g., albuterol)
- diagnostic sputum induction
- airway suctioning
- endotracheal intubation
Use the highest level of protection available for these procedures, including full barrier precautions, a negative pressure room, and a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), if available.
for MDH Infection Control Recommendations for Avian and Pandemic
MDH recommends full barrier precautions (airborne, contact, standard and eye protection) for transmission of avian or pandemic influenza.
Interim Recommendations for Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities
Caring for Patients with Known or Suspected Avian Influenza
For avian influenza, the current CDC guidance recommends airborne and contact precautions, plus eye protection, in addition to standard precautions. The CDC website that this guidance is under revision and will be reposted when final. Attention: Non-MDH link
- Avian influenza, including influenza A (H5N1), in humans: WHO interim
infection control guideline for health care facilities
For avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends full barrier precautions when available, especially for aerosol generating procedures. A minimum of standard and droplet precautions should be followed for any acute febrile respiratory illness.
- OSHA: Guidance
for Protecting Workers from Avian Influenza
For avian influenza, OSHA recommends airborne and contact precautions, plus eye protection, in addition to standard precautions. Attention: Non-MDH link
Pandemic Flu - Infection Control - Modes of Transmission
For pandemic influenza, the HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan recommends droplet precautions (use of surgical or procedure mask when within 3 feet of patient), in addition to standard precautions. However, airborne and contact precautions, plus eye protection are recommended for:
- Aerosol-generating procedures
- Pandemic influenza exhibiting increased transmissibility
- Initial stages of an outbreak of an emerging or novel strain of influenza
- As determined by other factors such as vaccination/immune status
of personnel and availability of antivirals.
Attention: Non-MDH link
- Infection Control and Clinical Issues for Potential Avian and Pandemic Influenza (PDF: 437KB/1 page)
Letter to healthcare facilities encouraging stockpiling of certain items for avian and pandemic influenza.
- Infection Control and Clinical Issues for Potential Avian and Pandemic Influenza (PDF: 1.4MB/3 pages)
Letter to infection control directors and occupational or employee health directors.