Flu vaccine life-saving for pregnant women

Sept. 8, 2011 at 11:38 PM

ATLANTA, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The impact of severe influenza during pregnancy on mother and infant/fetus emphasizes the importance of influenza vaccination, U.S. health officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic from April 15, 2009, to Aug. 10, 2010, the CDC received reports of 278 pregnant/post-partum women who were admitted to the intensive care unit and survived.

Eighty-four of the pregnant/post-partum women died.

"Infants born during their mother's hospitalization for severe influenza illness were more likely to be born preterm and of lower birth weight than the general population, and infants born after their mothers had been discharged were more likely to be small for gestational age and of lower birth weight," the report says. "Consistent with earlier reports, pregnant women receiving prompt treatment with recommended anti-viral medications were less likely to die than those treated later."

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