Fighting flu in newborns begins in pregnancy

Dec 14, 2010

A three-year study by Yale School of Medicine researchers has found that vaccinating pregnant women against influenza is over 90 percent effective in preventing their infants from being hospitalized with influenza in the first six months of life. Published in the December 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, the study builds on preliminary data the research team presented last year at the Infectious Disease Society of America in Philadelphia.

Influenza is a major cause of serious respiratory disease in pregnant women and of hospitalization in infants. Although the flu vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women and children, no vaccine is approved for infants under six months of age. Preventive strategies for this age group include general infection control and vaccination of those coming in close contact with them.

First author Isaac Benowitz, a Yale medical student, senior author Marietta Vazquez, M.D., and their colleagues examined the effectiveness of flu vaccine during in preventing hospitalization in infants. The study enrolled infants hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital due to and a similar group of infants without influenza. The researchers then compared whether each infant's mother had gotten the during pregnancy.

"When we compared vaccination rates during pregnancy in the study, we found that in the group of infants who didn't have influenza, far more mothers received the ," said Vazquez, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale. "In the group of infants studied, giving the vaccine to a woman during pregnancy was 91.5 percent effective in preventing hospitalization due to influenza."

Vazquez said that the study's findings provide an effective strategy for protecting infants under six months old, for whom no vaccine is available. She also points out that vaccination during pregnancy is cost-effective, as one vaccine protects two individuals.

Explore further: Tide turning in Ebola fight after hard lessons

More information: Citation: Clinical Infectious Diseases 2010, 51 (12) (December 15, 2010)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mother's flu shot protects newborns

Sep 17, 2008

Newborns can be protected from seasonal flu when their mothers are vaccinated during pregnancy, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers observed a 63 ...

The Maximization of Vaccinations

Apr 30, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- How does vaccinating pregnant women against influenza affect their babies' health? That's what researcher Saad Omer wants to know.

Recommended for you

Tide turning in Ebola fight after hard lessons

17 hours ago

A top U.N. official in the fight against Ebola greeted just three patients at one treatment center he visited this week in Sierra Leone. Families in Liberia are no longer required to cremate the remains of ...

Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia: UN

22 hours ago

The United Nations said on Saturday Liberia was dealing with just five remaining cases of Ebola, in the clearest sign yet that the country is nearing the end of the outbreak.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.