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January 13, 1989

Susceptibility to Influenza A in HIV-Positive Patients

Author Affiliations

Spectrum House, Inc Westboro, Mass

Spectrum House, Inc Westboro, Mass

JAMA. 1989;261(2):245. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420020097023

To the Editor.—  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently recommended the use of influenza vaccine for persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),1 although the incidence of serious illness caused by influenza A in this population is unknown. We investigated the impact of HIV status on susceptibility to symptomatic illness from influenza A during a recent outbreak.

Study. —  Affected individuals were residents of Spectrum House, a long-term, drug-free residential treatment center situated 48 km (30 miles) west of Boston. The 58 inhabitants—primarily former intravenous abusers of cocaine and heroin—were preponderantly white men and women aged 20 through 45 years. Testing for HIV was encouraged but not mandatory and clients were not segregated for work duties or sleep quarters based on HIV status.Seventeen clients sought medical attention during the week of March 11, 1988, for a symptom complex that included fever, chills, myalgia, sore throat, headache, and