CDC Studies Find Flu Vaccine Saves Lives

CDC Study Finds Flu Vaccine Saves Children’s Lives

Immunization_gloves.jpgA new CDC study published today in Pediatrics is the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza. The study, which looked at data from four flu seasons between 2010 and 2014, found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children. The study findings underscore the importance of the recommendation by CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine.
Researchers estimated how effective the vaccine was at preventing flu-related deaths by comparing the vaccination status of the children who died from flu to comparison groups of children. The comparison groups were obtained from two national surveys and a database of commercial insurance claims.

“Every year CDC receives reports of children who died from the flu. This study tells us that we can prevent more of these deaths by vaccinating more,” said Brendan Flannery, PhD, lead author and epidemiologist in the Influenza Division. “We looked at four seasons when we know from other studies that the vaccine prevented flu illness, and we found consistent protection against flu deaths in children.”

During the study period, 358 laboratory-confirmed, flu-associated child deaths were reported to CDC. Of the reported pediatric deaths with known vaccination status (291), only one in four children (26 percent) had been vaccinated.

Since the 2004-2005 season, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons ranged from 37 (during 2011-2012) to 171 (during 2012-2013). During the current flu season, 61 pediatric deaths have been reported to CDC as of March 25, 2017. More information about pediatric deaths is available in an interactive format at https://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html.

New CDC Study Shows Flu Vaccine Reduces Severe Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients

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May 25, 2017 – A new study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID) showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients. This study is an important first step in better understanding whether flu vaccines can reduce severe flu outcomes even if they fail to protect against infection.

The study looked at hospitalized flu patients during 2013-2014 and compared patients who had been vaccinated to those who had not. The observed benefits were greatest among people 65 years of age and older, which is notable because people in this age group are at increased risk of serious flu complications and have the highest hospitalization rate among all age groups.

The study found that vaccinated adults were 52-79% less likely to die than unvaccinated flu-hospitalized patients. In other words, an unvaccinated hospitalized flu patient was 2 to 5 times more likely to die than someone who had been vaccinated.

Additional benefits were observed in terms of reducing ICU admissions for several age groups. For example, vaccinated adults 18-49 years of age as well as adults 65 years of age and older hospitalized from flu were 37% less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who were not vaccinated. In terms of length of ICU stay, vaccinated adults 50-64 years of age as well as adults 65 years of age and older admitted to an ICU with flu illness were more likely to have a shorter stay in the ICU than those who were not vaccinated. Furthermore, vaccinated adults 50-64 years of age and adults 65 years of age and older were more likely to be discharged from the hospital earlier than those hospitalized with the flu who had not been vaccinated.

Researchers did not observe a difference between length of hospital stay or length of ICU stay among people 18 to 49 years of age. The authors discussed whether a larger sample size may have been needed to measure this outcome in this age group.

In the past 10 years, CDC and its public health partners have published many vaccine effectiveness studies that assess how well the seasonal flu vaccine protects against flu illness. Less research has been done to determine whether vaccination might reduce severity of illness among people who are vaccinated but still get sick. There is some data available that supports this conclusion. This study adds to that data, but more research on this topic is warranted. CDC plans to continue to monitor and research the benefits of flu vaccination against severe disease outcomes in future studies to explore this important public health issue. This study is available online from the CID website at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28525597.

Why worry about the flu in Australia? It could save your life.

Why worry about the flu in Australia? It could save your life.


JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is looking far from the Midwest to see what this year’s flu season might bring. Each year, flu cases in the southern hemisphere, in places like Australia, are tracked to help predict what will be seen in the northern hemisphere a few months later. This helps scientists determine what to include in the flu vaccine for North America.

So far this year, Australia has reported cases that far exceed those in the last two flu seasons. This may be because the most common influenza virus reported there this year is influenza A; it tends to lead to higher case counts and larger outbreaks. If Missouri’s flu season mimics what Australia is already seeing, there could be deadly consequences.

The Missouri State Public Health Laboratory reported more than 70,000 lab-positive influenza cases for the 2016-2017 flu season. This easily spread virus can prove especially dangerous for some patients: there were also 99 influenza-associated deaths reported over the same period.

The best defense we have against flu is the influenza vaccine, or flu shot. DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams says, “Having cared for patients for 30 years as a practicing physician, I saw that flu shots are critical for the greater good of our community. By protecting ourselves, we help protect our most vulnerable populations: newborn babies, pregnant women, the elderly and those whose health is already compromised. They are the most susceptible to serious flu illness and complications, including death. That’s why we recommend everyone six months or older gets a flu shot to help decrease exposure.”

Flu activity often increases in October and November before peaking between December and February. By receiving a flu shot, the body’s immune response to the virus will improve to provide protection against the influenza viruses that are likely to be common this flu season. For more information or to find a flu shot location near you, visit health.mo.gov/flu or talk to your local health department, pharmacist or medical provider. 

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: 

The Department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

Infant Sleep Positioners: FDA Warning - Risk of Suffocation

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MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

Infant Sleep Positioners: FDA Warning - Risk of Suffocation

AUDIENCE: Consumer, Pediatrics

ISSUE: FDA is reminding parents and caregivers not to put babies in sleep positioners. These products—sometimes also called “nests” or “anti-roll” products—can cause suffocation (a struggle to breathe) that can lead to death.

In the last 13 years, the federal government has received 12 reports of babies known to have died from suffocation associated with their sleep positioners. Most of the babies suffocated after rolling from the side to the stomach. In addition to the deaths, the commission has received dozens of reports of babies who were placed on their back or side in the positioners only to be found later in hazardous positions within or next to the product.

To reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on their backs, positioned on a firm, empty surface. This surface should not contain soft objects, toys, pillows, or loose bedding.

BACKGROUND: The most common types of sleep positioners feature bolsters attached to each side of a thin mat and wedges to elevate the baby’s head. The sleep positioners are intended to keep a baby in a desired position while sleeping. They are often used with infants under 6 months old.

RECOMMENDATION: Parents and other caregivers should not put babies in sleep positioning products.

  • NEVER use infant sleep positioners. Using this type of product to hold an infant on his or her side or back is dangerous.
  • NEVER put pillows, blankets, loose sheets, comforters, or quilts under a baby or in a crib. These products also can be dangerous. Babies don’t need pillows and adequate clothing—instead of blankets—can keep them warm.
  • ALWAYS keep cribs and sleeping areas bare. That means you should also never put soft objects or toys in sleeping areas.
  • ALWAYS place a baby on his or her back at night and during nap time. An easy way to remember this is to follow the ABCs of safe sleep: “Alone on the Back in a bare Crib.”

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

Read the MedWatch Safety Alert, including a link to the FDA Drug Safety Communication, at:
https://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm578531.htm

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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The Andrew County health Department would like to remind you 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 100%. Create an early detection plan now visit www.earlydetectionplan.org.

This project is/was funded in part by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Maternal and Child Health Services Contract #DH150006012 and is/was supported by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant #B04MC28109, Maternal and Child Health Services for $9,095,311, of which $0 is from non-governmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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