Study: Maternal flu shot lowers risk of infant flu infection, hospitalization
Infants born to women who received a flu vaccination during pregnancy were 81% less likely to be hospitalized with influenza during the first 6 months of life, according to a study today in Pediatrics.
Researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine analyzed medical records of 249,387 infants born to 245,386 women from December 2005 to March 2014. Approximately 10% of women (23,383) reported receiving the flu vaccine during pregnancy.
Maternal vaccination was associated with a 70% lower risk of an infant 6 months or younger having laboratory-confirmed influenza. A total of 658 infants had laboratory-confirmed flu during the study period, only 20 of whom were born to women vaccinated during pregnancy.
Immunization during pregnancy was also associated with an 81% lower risk of young infants requiring flu-related hospitalization. Among infants with lab-confirmed flu, 151 (23%) were hospitalized, and all but 3 were born to women who did not receive a flu vaccine while pregnant.
Women who received the flu vaccine while pregnant were slightly more likely to have an underlying medical condition (6,317, or 26.5%) when compared with unvaccinated women who had chronic disease (51,965, 23%). Factors associated with lack of vaccination during pregnancy included having government health insurance or lack of insurance and residence in a rural, frontier, urban South, or southwestern locality.
Maternal flu vaccination appeared to have little effect on rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in young infants during the study, which strengthened its association with preventing flu cases and hospitalizations.
Though the authors were unable to account for other lifestyle or exposure factors that may have influenced flu rates in young infants, the study was one of the largest retrospective analyses of linked maternal and infant vaccination effects. "Protecting young infants from influenza through maternal immunization during pregnancy is a public health priority," the authors said.
May 3 Pediatrics study
Low-path H9 case reported in Egypt
Egypt has reported a case of low-pathogenic H9 avian flu in a patient from the country's Sharqia governorate, according to a post today on FluTrackers, an infectious disease message board.
The patient is from the town of Minshat Nasir, but no other demographic information was given. The illness was reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Apr 27.
If the H9 case is confirmed to be H9N2, it will be Egypt's first H9N2 case this year and the country's fourth such case since the virus emerged there in March 2015.
May 3 FluTrackers post
Apr 27 FAO report
Italy reports high-path H7N7 in poultry
An outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N7 avian flu has caused the death or destruction of 17,000 layer hens in northern Italy, according to a report yesterday from the country's ministry of health to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The last such outbreak in Italy was in early 2015. The free-range/organic commercial farm housing the hens is in the town of Portomaggiore, in Ferrara province, in the north along the Adriatic Sea. Two thousand birds were sickened, and 600 of those died, for an apparent case-fatality rate of 30%. The remaining 16,400 birds were destroyed to contain the outbreak.
Other control measures include disinfection of the premises, and the outbreak is classified as ongoing.
May 2 OIE report
Avian flu scare brings foie gras ban in France
Concern over avian flu has resulted in a 3-month ban on the production of foie gras in France, according to a story yesterday in the Independent, a British online newspaper. The ban affects duck and goose farms and slaughterhouses in 18 departments in the southwest part of the country affected by recent outbreaks.
The gap in production could eliminate some 4,000 jobs temporarily and cost breeders more than a million euros in lost sales and fixed costs, the story said. France's ministry of agriculture will reportedly compensate the breeders for their loss.
Foie gras, considered a delicacy by some but derided by others as cruel to animals, is fatted duck or goose liver produced by force-feeding the birds. France produces about 75% of the world's supply, the story says.
An outbreak of H5N1 avian flu was discovered on a chicken farm in Dordogne last November, and scores of H5 outbreaks have been reported since that time in southwest France.
May 2 Independent story
Most recent (Apr 19) CIDRAP News item regarding France outbreaks