Flu Risk for Kids with Neurologic Disorder
Children with a neurologic disorder such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disability or epilepsy have a higher risk from influenza, U.S. officials say.
Dr. Lyn Finelli, chief of the surveillance and outbreak response team in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division, said a disproportionately high number of children with neurologic disorders died from influenza-related complications during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, found 336 children -- defined as those younger than 18 years -- with information available on underlying medical conditions who were reported to have died from 2009 H1N1 flu-associated causes, 227 had one or more underlying health conditions.
Of the children with neurologic disorders for whom information on vaccination status was available, 23 percent had received the seasonal influenza vaccine and 3 percent were fully vaccinated for 2009 H1N1.
"We've known for some time that certain neurologic conditions can put children at high risk for serious complications from influenza," Finelli said in a statement. "However, the high percentage of pediatric deaths associated with neurologic disorders that occurred during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic was a somber reminder of the harm that flu can cause to children with neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders."