Droplet / Contact Precautions
Droplet / Contact Precautions

General Information

Pathogen information

  • Respiratory secretions are infectious.

  • Direct and indirect contact are both routes of infectivity.

  • It is possibly airborne spread but this is not proven conclusively. Airborne precautions may be invoked if there is Avian influenza.

  • Patients under the age of 5, or chronic neurological conditions, asthma or immunocompromised are at higher risk of complications.

  • Influenza may also cause acute neurological symptoms in addition to typical respiratory and febrile illness.


  • Incubation period is generally 1-3 days.

  • Period of communicability is usually 7 days but may be longer in infants where asymptomatic shedding may occur.

  • Droplet/contact precautions should apply for the duration of the illness or contact Infection Prevention and Control.

  • May cohort patients if infected with the same virus (except avian influenza) which is laboratory confirmed.

Associated syndromes

Patients may be secondarily infected with a bacterial pathogen such as MSSA, MRSA, Streptococcus pneumonia or Group A streptococcus, usually causing a bacterial pneumonitis.

Additional Information

Patients who are moderately ill should be considered for oseltamivir (Tamiflu TM) therapy and any hospitalized patient should be treated with a neuraminidase inhibitor (usually oseltamivir) and assessed for associated bacterial infection if clinically indicated.