CDC: Those with asthma should get flu shot

June 23, 2009 at 7:16 PM
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ATLANTA, June 23 (UPI) -- The increased risk of complications from influenza, means adults and children with asthma should be vaccinated for seasonal flu, U.S. health officials say.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System has been in use since 1984 and collects state-specific data from random telephone surveys of U.S. adults, CDC officials said.

The study, scheduled to be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, analyzed the responses of 173,572 adults age 18-64 and found that 8.4 percent had asthma. In the 2006-2007 influenza season, vaccination estimates ranged from 26.9 percent in California to 53.3 percent in Tennessee with a median across all states of 43.1 percent.

Lead investigator Peng-jun Lu of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC and colleagues identified influenza vaccination as one of several "key clinical activities that should be considered as essential for quality asthma care."

Healthcare providers should also be encouraged to use evidence-based immunization strategies -- such as standing orders, patient reminder/recall, provider reminder, provider assessment and feedback -- for asthma or other high-risk conditions and routinely offer influenza vaccination.

The CDC investigators determined that the vaccination levels among asthma sufferers falls well short of the guideline of having at least 60 percent of adults ages 18-64 with asthma vaccinated for seasonal influenza.

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