Real flu (flu) is often nonspecific in infants. Respiratory complaints are lacking. This can lead to infection being detected.
Real flu (flu) is often nonspecific in infants. Respiratory complaints are lacking. This can lead to infection being detected. This is the result of a study published in the journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
The investigation was funded by the United States Department of Health's (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The observational study was conducted at hospitals in Albania, Jordan, Nicaragua and the Philippines.
Influenza in infants is often unrecognized
He examined acute infants under 1 year of age who were hospitalized within 10 days or less of the onset of the disease – in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 flu seasons. During the influenza period, 1,943 newborns were admitted.
Of these, 254 children tested positive for influenza. However, 33 percent of the 254 flu patients did not have respiratory illnesses in the discharge letter, but made other diagnoses such as seizures, sepsis, dehydration, or other non-respiratory viral diseases. That is, with an emphasis on acute respiratory distress, influenza would not be detected in many infants.
Babies fight infection by immature immune systems
Infant influenza is by no means studied as often as it is for children in general. In most studies, children were studied in older age groups, for example, under 2 years of age or under 5 years.
But babies hospitalized with the flu are likely to suffer from their first influenza infection – and fight them with an immature immune system and underdeveloped airways and lungs. To complicate matters further, the symptoms of flu in children are often different than in older children and adults, making it difficult for doctors to detect influenza infection.
Vaccination is also important in pregnant women
These findings highlight the risk of newborn influenza and the importance of vaccination to protect babies, the study continues. These include vaccination of pregnant women and babies at 6 months of age, as well as caution in contact with infants under 6 months of age who are too young to be vaccinated. In the US, the flu vaccine is recommended from the age of 6 months and for all ages.
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