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Respiratory Viral Infections and Infection Prevention Practices among Women with Acute Respiratory Illness during Delivery Hospitalizations during the 2019-2020 Influenza Season

Leigh Mathias, Meredith G Wesley, Gabriella Newes-Adeyi, Danielle R Hunt, Abt Global; Fatimah S Dawood, Angela P Campbell, Constance Ogokeh, CDC Influenza Division; Michael Varner, Julie H Shakib, Kelly Vorwaller, Emily Powers, Marie Gibson, University of Utah Health Sciences Center; Flor Munoz, Pedro A Piedra, Nanette Bond, Patricia Santacangelo, Vasanthi Avadhanula, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital; Melissa S Stockwell, Priyam Thind, Celibell Y Vargas, Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, Casandra Almonte Columbia University Irving Medical Center; Melissa S Stockwell, Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Melissa S Stockwell Mailman School of Public Health; Joe Suyama, Alexandra Weissman, University of Pittsburgh; Ingrid Macio, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Magee-Womens Hospital; De-Kun Li, Jeannette Ferber, Roxana Odouli, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute; Alan Tita, Akila Subramaniam, Ayodeji Sanusi, Amy Boone, Ashley N Battarbee, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Romeo Galang, Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, CDC Division of Reproductive Health


October 14, 2021

Approximately one million hospitalizations for delivery occur during the influenza season each year, and yet little is known about the burden of acute respiratory infections among women hospitalized for delivery. Abt, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and six partner institutions collaborated on a cross-sectional study of acute respiratory viral infections (ARI) among women who were hospitalized for delivery during the 2019-2020 influenza season. The objective was to investigate the clinical testing practices for influenza and other respiratory viruses, assess the frequency of respiratory virus infections, and describe influenza antiviral treatment and infection prevention and control (IPC) practices. We found that approximately 20% of women hospitalized at delivery with an ARI had laboratory-confirmed influenza, although half were not diagnosed by clinical testing. We concluded that standard screening at admission may increase adherence to IPC practices and could reduce the spread of influenza and other viral infections to mothers, infants, and healthcare personnel. This finding is of particular importance when considering implications of the COVID-19 pandemic just before, during, and after birth.