FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Can Vaccinating Kids Prevent Flu Outbreaks?

Evidence is growing that children under age 5 are not only the first ones to get sick during a flu outbreak, but that they are also carriers of viruses. Studies of children who go to emergency rooms for treatment suggest that major outbreaks occur approximately five weeks after children present with flu symptoms. The close confines of preschools and day care centers, combined with children's generally poor personal hygiene practices, makes this age group particularly vulnerable.

Studies in Michigan and Texas have found that vaccinating children can reduce flu outbreaks substantially. The current practice is not to vaccinate children older than 23 months unless they are medically fragile; however, with this new research in hand, health experts are rethinking those guidelines. Vaccinations, combined with greater emphasis on teaching hand washing and other hygiene techniques in school, may not only keep kids healthy, but also the general population.

Source: CNN.com