Study: Even healthy children die of influenza

Oct. 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM
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ATLANTA, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Influenza can be fatal in healthy children as well as children with high-risk medical conditions, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Karen K. Wong, Dr. Seema Jain, Lenee Blanton, Rosaline Dhara, Lynnette Brammer, Dr. Alicia M. Fry and Lyn Finelli of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed deaths in children age 18 and younger with laboratory-confirmed influenza.

The standard case report included demographic characteristics, medical conditions, clinical course and laboratory results.

From October 2004 through September 2012, 830 pediatric influenza–associated deaths were reported to the CDC. The median age was 7.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found 35 percent of children died before hospital admission and of the 794 children with a known medical history, 43 percent had no high-risk medical conditions, 33 percent had neurological disorders and 12 percent had genetic or chromosomal disorders.

Children without high-risk medical conditions were more likely to die before hospital admission and within three days of symptom onset than those with high-risk medical conditions, the study said.

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