Sunday, 18 November, 2018

NYC reports first pediatric flu death of season

First Pediatric Flu Related Death of Season in NYC Flu Activity Is Low -- For Now
Samantha Long | 30 October, 2018, 17:11

The flu is not just a really bad cold.

Absolutely not, say researchers, who found that last year's shot will not in any way reduce the flu-fighting strength of this year's shot. Flu vaccine, while far from flawless, reduces illness and serious complications, such as hospitalizations and admission to intensive-care units.

Huong Q. McLean, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin, and colleagues conducted a multiseason, test-negative case-control study involving children aged 2 to 17 years with a medically attended febrile acute respiratory illness. If you are pregnant, the flu is more risky for you.

As last year's flu season wound down, the CDC said reports of child flu deaths were the highest for a nonpandemic year since the agency started tracking them in 2004. In fact, the flu has already claimed the life of one child in Florida this year, she noted. Prior-season vaccination was not associated with inactivated influenza vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) (38.7 versus 23.2 percent; interaction P = 0.16) or influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 (72.4 and 67.5 percent; interaction P = 0.93).

"The flu virus can be deadly and the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot", Edgecombe County Health Director Karen Lachapelle said.

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"All New Yorkers 6 years of age and older should get a flu shot every year, especially children, pregnant women and the elderly", stated Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

The number of flu-related deaths in North Carolina has increased significantly over the past three years. The vaccine's effectiveness depends on multiple factors - including the amount of time between vaccination and exposure to the disease, your age and health status - yet studies show that the flu vaccination does benefit overall public health, especially when the vaccine is well matched to that year's circulating viruses.

It is also recommended that friends, family members and people who provide care to people in these groups also get a vaccine-not only to protect themselves, but also to decrease the possibility that they might expose the people they love and care for to the flu. That reflects data covering four flu seasons, stretching from 2010 to 2014. No new pediatric flu deaths were reported, keeping the total at one so far. However, ACIP recommends that FluMist once again be an option for vaccination during the 2018-2019 influenza season for persons for whom it is age-appropriate and who have no medical contraindications. It can reduce the severity and shorten the duration of flu symptoms after one dose, FDA officials said.

And those children who had gotten a flu shot the prior year in 2012 saw no impact whatsoever on the protective strength of their 2013 IIV shot, with respect to both types of flu. Vaccination can be given any time during the flu season, but providers are encouraged to administer the vaccine as soon as possible. Getting vaccine for flu is as important as taking food and every year vaccination should be taken. "These findings support current recommendations for annual influenza vaccination of children". A few small studies, including one out of Canada, have suggested that getting the flu vaccine yearly might increase some people's risk of catching the virus, even though it's hard to explain why that might happen.

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