Pregnant Women Are More Severely Impacted by Novel H1N1 Influenza

Study Says Pregnant Women Are More Severely Impacted by Novel H1N1 Influenza
Virus and Need Prompt Treatment with Antiviral Medication. Pregnant women
infected with 2009 novel H1N1 had a higher rate of hospitalization and greater
risk of death than the general population due to the H1N1 flu, according to a
study in the Aug. 8 issue of the British medical journal Lancet.

The data collected and analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) are the most comprehensive available to date on the impact of
this novel H1N1 flu virus among pregnant women.

"The death of a pregnant woman is always heartbreaking, and unfortunately we
have been hearing reports of otherwise healthy women dying from H1N1. If a
pregnant woman feels like she may have influenza, she needs to call her
healthcare provider right away," said CDC's Dr. Denise Jamieson, lead author of
the study. "Clinicians who treat pregnant women should have a system in place
for triaging pregnant women with influenza-like symptoms and they should not
delay in initiating appropriate antiviral therapy. Some clinicians hesitate
treating pregnant women with antiviral medications because of concerns for the
developing fetus, but this is the wrong approach. It is critical that pregnant
women, in particular, be treated promptly."

Six deaths of pregnant women with H1N1 were reported to CDC between April 15
and June 16, 2009, representing 13 percent of the total 45 deaths reported to
CDC during that time period. All were healthy prior to infection of H1N1 and
subsequently developed primary viral pneumonia leading to acute respiratory
distress requiring mechanical ventilation. All pregnant women who died did not
receive antivirals soon enough to benefit their treatment. CDC recommends that
pregnant women with suspected or confirmed influenza infection receive prompt
treatment with antiviral medication.

Based on past influenza pandemics and on seasonal influenza epidemics, pregnant
women have increased rates of illness and death from influenza infection.

Despite recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for inactivated flu
vaccine for all pregnant women, seasonal flu vaccine coverage among pregnant
women is very low (less than 14 percent).

More info - Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)