Friday, September 4, 2009

CDC: Swine Flu Poses Higher Risk to Children with Disabilities


A new report on the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, has a particular caution to parents of children with disabilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with high-risk medical conditions or disabilities should be among the first to be vaccinated against H1N1 influenza.

CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, "We also are recommending that all people with underlying conditions get vaccinated -- people who have asthma, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, neuromuscular conditions, neurological conditions that increase their risk factors, and women who are pregnant." And high-risk children under 18 years of age should be rushed to a doctor at the first sign of the virus, Frieden said.

The vaccine is expected to be available by mid-October, and it's adding flames to the existing debate over the possible link between vaccines and autism. While there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, the debate over this issue is only heating up. It doesn't help that the H1N1 vaccine will be new and untested over time, and that reports (see Washington Post article) say many of the vaccines will have thimerosal, which contains mercury (which has been removed from many vaccines). Read what the CDC says about the vaccine.

As of Aug. 22, there had been 556 deaths in the United States associated with the H1N1 virus as of Aug. 22 -- and 42 were children under 18. Seven of the children who died were younger than 5, and 24 had underlying disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or another medical condition.

Learn more and keep up with this special section of the CDC's website.
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