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Influenza Vaccination for children with neurological or neuromuscular disease

A new research shows that in Children with neurological or neuromuscular diseases are at increased risk for developing respiratory failure ,if they're hospitalized with influenza.//

The results, which are reported in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, are based on a study of 745 children who were hospitalized for influenza at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia over four consecutive flu seasons.

This finding supports recent recommendations that such children should be given an annual vaccination

In the study headed by Dr. Ron Keren and colleagues focused on the impact that various chronic medical conditions had on the development of serious influenza complications. Forty-three percent of the subjects had at least one high-risk condition, and 12 percent of the kids had a neurological disorder such as muscular dystrophy or seizures.

Respiratory failure developed in 32 children (4 percent), the report indicates. The researchers found that having a neurological disorder increased the likelihood of respiratory failure six-fold.

The authors states that "These results support the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recent decision to add neurological and neuromuscular diseases to the list of conditions for which annual influenza vaccine is recommended in children," the authors state.

They add, "Neurologists and primary care pediatricians should be alerted to the increased risk of respiratory failure and the importance of influenza vaccination in children with neurological and neuromuscular diseases."

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, November 2, 2005.

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