H1N1 Swine Flu – Which Children are at Highest Risk

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It is nothing anyone wants to think about, but the current flu pandemic poses a particular risk to the young. The most recent data can help pinpoint just which children are at greatest risk and therefore need to be hospitalized or get intensive treatment.

This information is also important because it indicates that many parents don’t need to be particularly worried about this flu variety.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) study of those children age who died after contracting the pandemic Influenza A H1N1 (commonly referred to as “Swine Flu”) shows just which pediatric flu cases should get special attention from parents and medical personnel and therefore also which of the many don’t need to occupy scares healthcare resources during a pandemic.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5834a1.htm

There have been 477 deaths associated with the pandemic this year in the United States, of those, 36 were individuals under 18 and 24 of those were children.

Twenty-two (22) of those children had one or more high-risk medical conditions, mostly neurodevelopmental conditions such as delayed development or cerebral palsy. Thirteen (13) had multiple disorders.

Ten (10) of the other fatalities had a second infection, mostly streptococcus, bacterial pneumonia, and staphylococcus aureus.

The current data indicates otherwise healthy children are also at risk if they have or develop bacterial infections along with the flu.

It also shows that the vast number of children will probably recover from the pandemic flu with little trouble.

Those parents who have children known to be at risk due to neurologic conditions can take more precautions against exposure or push for quick vaccination (when available) but others may not need to be especially concerned about the flu (probably no more than any seasonal flu) unless the child also has or acquires a secondary bacterial infection.

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. He is a 38-year member of the National Press Club, retired emergency management coordinator, physicist, and member of the AAAS. He is a senior NewsBlaze writer who writes incisive, investigative stories.