Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 49 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 18-Feb-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 19-Feb-2004
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No asthma exacerbation help from children's flu vaccination

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in children with asthma, ages 6 to 18, Dutch researchers found that influenza vaccination did not significantly reduce the number, severity, or duration of asthma exacerbations caused by the flu.

The investigators studied 349 children who received placebo vaccinations and 347 who were given inactivated influenza vaccine. They revealed that 42 pharyngeal swabs from the children were positive for influenza, with 24 in the vaccine group and 18 in the placebo group--a 33 percent difference.

The authors said that the influenza-related asthma exacerbations they detected were all of similar severity. They study's young participants were recruited through family physicians in the city of Rotterdam and its surrounding areas during the flu seasons of 1999 to 2000 and 2000 to 2001.

The children in the study were only involved for one flu season. Starting the day after his or her vaccination, each child was asked to fill in a daily diary. In their booklet, they scored upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms, use of medication, physician visits, and trips to other medical facilities. When the symptom score reached a predefined level, the investigators would take a pharyngeal swab. The primary outcome of the study was the number of asthma exacerbations associated with proven influenza viruses.

They study appears in the second issue for February 2004 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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