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