By Lisa Gilmer, MD, FAAP
The KAAP received an email from KC based urgent care provider with questions about school notices stating that anyone diagnosed with influenza needed to stay home for 5-7 days regardless of when they become afebrile or start to feel better. KAAP reached out to KDHE for more information on Kansas’s isolation regulations for influenza.
According to the KDHE Requirements for Isolation and Quarantine of Infectious or Contagious Diseases- Influenza Control which went into effect in May 2019, non-hospitalized children with influenza should remain in home isolation for 7 days following onset of illness or for the duration of illness if the case is immune-compromised, except when seeking medical care.1 The KDHE regulations are in line with CDC and AAP resources regarding the infectiousness and disease course of influenza.
Important points in the KDHE regulations:
- Applies to immunocompetent children who test positive for influenza
- 7 days of in home isolation is required from the onset of the first symptoms, not from the day of diagnosis
- In cases of other febrile respiratory illnesses, children should stay home for at least 24 hours following the last fever not treated with fever-reducing medication.2
Individual school districts may have more restrictive policies. Policies for two large KC school districts state that a physician diagnosed case of influenza requires the student be excluded from school for 7 days following the onset of the illness. Neither policy requires testing, only a medical provider diagnosis which follows CDC recommendations for flu testing during the flu season.3 You should be familiar with the specific school polices are in your area.
Once the flu season is over, KDHE will reevaluate the effectiveness of the influenza isolation regulation at reducing the number of cases and flu outbreaks. They will reach out to key stakeholders for input during that process and the KAAP will look to be part of that discussion.
If you have additional questions, the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline is a good resource at 877-427-7317.