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Neurologic disorders increase flu risks for children

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 10, 2012

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Children with neurologic disorders are particularly vulnerable to influenza and should be vaccinated annually for the virus, says a study published online on Aug. 29 in Pediatrics (link).

If children with such disorders contract the flu, they should be treated early and aggressively, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC researchers analyzed data on 336 H1N1 flu-related child deaths between April 15, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010. They found that 227 had at least one underlying condition that increased risks for complications. Of those deaths, 64% had a neurologic disorder, such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Children with neurologic disorders were more likely to have additional risk factors, such as compromised pulmonary function. They also tended to be older than other children who died from H1N1, and they were sicker longer before dying compared with children without a high-risk condition, the study said.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/09/10/hlbf0910.htm.

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