Has your young child been vaccinated against influenza?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) influenza activity continues to increase in the United States and most of the nation is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI). The CDC also notes that some people, such as older people, people with certain health conditions, and young children are at high risk for serious flu complications. According to the latest FluView report from the CDC, the agency’s current position is that people who have not yet been vaccinated this season should be vaccinated as soon as possible. In view of the increased risk of complications among young children, a new study evaluated whether young children were being vaccinated for influenza. Researchers affiliated with several East Coast Medical Centers and the CDC published their findings on January 6 in the journal Pediatrics.
The study authors conducted a study to characterize the healthcare burden of influenza from 2004 through 2009, years when influenza vaccine recommendations were expanded to all children aged six months of age or older. They reviewed laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza children less than five years of age who presented with fever and/or acute respiratory illness to inpatient and outpatient settings during five influenza seasons in three US counties. Enrolled children had nasal/throat swabs tested for influenza by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and their medical records reviewed. Rates of influenza hospitalizations per 1,000 population and proportions of outpatients (emergency department and clinic) with influenza were computed.