Flu Education Seeks to Fight Confusion with Ebola

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A new U.S. physician education activity developed by Paradigm Medical Communications is taking aim at a growing side effect in the worldwide fight against Ebola: confusion with initial flu symptoms that resemble the Ebola virus.

Why Care About Seasonal Influenza In The Age of Ebola?

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A new U.S. physician education activity developed by Paradigm Medical Communications is taking aim at a growing side effect in the worldwide fight against Ebola: confusion with initial flu symptoms that resemble the Ebola virus.

“Confusion can be expected,” said Thomas File, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University and faculty for the certified online medical education activity “Why Care About Seasonal Influenza in the Age of Ebola?” hosted on Paradigm Medical Communication's website.

“Flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache, and fatigue all mimic symptoms of the Ebola virus,” File said, “As we enter into high flu season, physicians and patients need to better understand the flu, how to avoid it, and how to treat it.”

The number of U.S. flu cases and associated costs have increased in recent years. An estimated 35.4 million flu cases were identified in the 2013-14 season (up from 31.8 million in 2012-13). Direct medical costs to treat flu have been estimated at more than $10.4 billion annually, with more than $16.3 billion in additional lost earnings for patients suffering from the flu.

While the majority of the flu cases impact workers aged 20-64, the greatest hospitalizations occur with those who are 64 and older. The average per-patient hospital costs are $730 for Emergency Department care and $4,000 for inpatient care. Estimated flu deaths over the past 30 years have varied from a low of about 3,000 in the late 1980s to a high of about 49,000 during the 2003-2004 season, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Why Care About Seasonal Influenza in the Age of Ebola?” was developed by Paradigm Medical Communications, LLC and Global Education Group as a certified continuing medical education activity for U.S. clinicians wanting to learn more about critical flu issues. The activity allows learners to dive into evidence and faculty discussion to better understand the virus and learn about high risk populations, influenza-associated complications, prevention and treatment. The activity is available online through February 2016 on Paradigm's website. Physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other clinicians who care for patients with chronic diseases who may be at high risk for consequences of seasonal influenza can earn continuing education credit for their participation.

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John McCormick
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