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New hospital standards needed for pediatric flu vaccines
Date:2/4/2008

o the influenza admission and between September 1 and March 1. Approximately 14,000 cases of children hospitalized with influenza and 170,000 hospitalized with influenza or a respiratory illness were reviewed.

Researchers found approximately 16% of those hospitalized with influenza and 23% of those hospitalized with influenza and another underlying condition had previous hospital admissions during the vaccination season.

This information will help pediatricians recognize hospitalization as an important opportunity to vaccinate the highest-risk children, and may hopefully prompt the development of hospital-based flu vaccine programs, said Zerr.

Influenza is a highly contagious illness causing an average of 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations per year in the United States; pneumonia is the most common complication in high-risk groups. Young children and those with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Influenza, unlike the common cold, has a swift onset of severe symptoms beginning with two to seven days of fever, headache, muscle aches, extreme fatigue, runny nose and sore throat, and a cough that is often severe and may last seven days or more. The flu season is generally from November to April, with most cases occurring between late December and early March.

In 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that unvaccinated patients of all ages (including children with high-risk conditions) and all persons aged 6 months to 4 years as well as those 50 and older who are hospitalized at any time, beginning from the time flu vaccine becomes available for the upcoming flu season and continuing throughout flu season, should be offered and strongly encouraged to receive influenza vaccine before being discharged from the hospital.

Seattle Childrens has had a long-standing aggressive flu prevention program, offerin
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Contact: Teri Thomas
teri.thomas@seattlechildrens.org
Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center of Seattle
Source:Eurekalert

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