Flu Prevention Critical for Those With Neurologic Conditions, CDC Says

Outbreak at Ohio residential facility resulted in 7 deaths last winter, report says

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THURSDAY, Jan. 5, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Children and young adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions are at high risk for complications from the flu and should receive flu vaccinations, say health officials who investigated a flu outbreak in Ohio in February 2011.

Of the 130 people living at a residential facility for children and young adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, 76 (58 percent) developed respiratory illness. Thirteen became severely ill and seven died.

All 13 residents who became severely ill had multiple neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, which may have hindered early diagnosis and treatment of the flu and contributed to the severity of their illness, said the research team from the Ohio Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The investigators said doctors need to watch for signs of flu among children and young adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, especially during flu season.

Because these people are at high risk for flu-related complications, vaccination should be part of an overall prevention program that also includes giving antiviral drugs in the early stages of flu, ideally within 48 hours of the first symptoms, the researchers said.

The report appears in the Jan. 6 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about flu prevention.

SOURCE: Jan. 6, 2012, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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