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CDC Report: Flu Hits Younger and Middle-Aged Adults Particularly Hard This Season

Vaccination lowers risk of having to see doctor by about 60% for all ages (February 20)

This influenza season was particularly hard on younger and middle-aged adults, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency’s findings were published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

People aged 18 to 64 years represented 61% of all hospitalizations because of the flu — up from the previous three seasons, when this age group represented only about 35% of all such hospitalizations. Flu deaths followed the same pattern: more deaths than usual occurred in this younger age group.

The CDC looked at data from 2,319 children and adults enrolled in the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness (Flu VE) network from December 2, 2013 to January 23, 2014.

A second report in MMWR showed that influenza vaccination offered substantial protection against the flu this season, reducing a vaccinated person’s risk of having to go to the doctor for flu illness by about 60% across all age groups.

According to the CDC, people at high risk for flu complications include pregnant women; people with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease; people who are morbidly obese; and people older than 65 years or children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years.

Source: CDC; February 20, 2014.

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