Dr Tristan Clark is associate professor in infectious diseases at the University of Southampton. Here he gives an update on neuroaminidase inhibitor use in older people, and invites readers to participate in a new survey of practice.
Influenza causes excess hospitalisations and 10,000 excess deaths every year in the UK and most of this burden falls on the elderly. Although the rate of hospitalisation in adults with influenza is 5-20 per 100,000 it is 1200 per 100,000 in those over 85 years old. Once hospitalised with influenza, 10-30% of adults are admitted to critical care units and 3-15% will die. Influenza vaccine uptake remains sub-optimal in the over 65s with only 70% accepting vaccination. Furthermore, whilst influenza vaccination is highly effective in healthy younger adults, protection decrease with age and high quality evidence for significant protection in the elderly is lacking.