Swine Flu Poses Greater Risk To Children With Disabilities, Report Indicates
At least 36 children died from swine flu in the United States as of Aug. 8, most of whom had an underlying illness or developmental disability, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Now, doctors are warning that extra attention must be given to children with special needs who present with flu-like symptoms.
Of the 36 children ages 2 months to 17 years who have died, two-thirds had a chronic illness or developmental disability such as cerebral palsy, developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, respiratory troubles or cardiac problems.
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“For people who do have an underlying condition, it’s important to be seen promptly if you get a fever. That could make the difference between being severely ill and recovering well,” said Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC. “Treatment in the first 48 hours can make a big difference in hastening your recovery.”
Children with developmental disabilities will be “at the front of the line for flu vaccination when it becomes available,” Frieden says, which could be as early as the middle of October.
Nearly 500 people of all ages have died in the United States from the flu strain known as H1N1 or swine flu, the report indicates.
It is unclear whether or not the swine flu pandemic will ultimately impact children any more than a typical flu season does, since 50 to 100 children typically die from the flu each year.