Flu vaccine tied to fewer hospitalizations among COPD patients
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who received the seasonal influenza vaccine had a38% reduction in influenza-related hospitalizations compared with those who were unvaccinated. The findings, based on a Canadian study, are published in Chest.
The study looked at the vaccination status of 4,198 COPD patients hospitalized with any acute respiratory illness or exacerbation from 2011 to 2015 at 46 Canadian hospitals.
According to the study, the seasonal flu vaccine reduced influenza-related hospitalizations among patients with COPD by 37.5% (95% confidence interval, 27.3% to 46.2%) compared with unvaccinated patients.
Influenza-positive patients were more likely to suffer from severe infections and mortality if they were over the age of 75, had a cardiac comorbidity, or were a resident in long-term care facilities.
Jan 4 Chest study
WHO: Influenza activity jumps across much of Northern Hemisphere
In its latest global influenza update, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported an increase of influenza activity across most of the Northern Hemisphere, with the 2009 H1N1 strain predominating in North America and Eastern Asia.
In North America, influenza-like illness (ILI) in the United States is above the national baseline, and pediatric hospitalizations in Canada picked up, mirroring the 2011-2012 flu season. Mexico is also seeing increased H1N1 activity.
The WHO said the influenza season appears to have started in East Asia. "ILI activity increased further with mainly influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 reported in China and China, Hong Kong SAR. ILI levels sharply increased in the Republic of Korea, with mainly influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 detections," the agency said.
In Europe, both influenza A strains H1N1 and H3N2 were circulating in equal proportions. In Iran, activity increased because of circulating H3N2.
Of all flu specimens tested worldwide, 93.8% were influenza A and 6.2% were influenza B. Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 77% were 2009 H1N1 and 23% were H3N2.
Jan 8 WHO update