Neurological Conditions Increase Flu Risk

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ATLANTA, Jan. 6 (UPI) — Doctors should be alert to the possibility of influenza among children and young adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, U.S. officials say.

A study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

describes the findings of a joint investigation between the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health into an outbreak of influenza in a residential facility for children and young adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions.

“Among 130 residents of the facility, 58 percent developed respiratory illness in February 2011; 13 became severely ill and seven of those patients died,” the report said. “All 13 severely ill residents had multiple neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, and their underlying medical conditions might have hindered early diagnosis and treatment and contributed to the severity of illness.”

Because those with neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders are at high risk for complications from influenza, vaccination should be part of a larger program of influenza prevention that includes antiviral drugs that are given early in the course of illness — ideally within 48 hours of symptom onset, the report said.

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