CDC Survey Claims Seniors in Illinois Nursing Homes and Elsewhere at Highest Risk for Influenza-Related Hospitalization and Death

According to a survey conducted by the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the influenza vaccine administered this season was only effective in nine percent of cases for individuals age 65 or older. For people under age 65, the vaccine reportedly reduced sickness by nearly two-thirds. As part of the study, more than 2,500 individuals were surveyed by the United States Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network between December 3, 2012 and January 19, 2013. Researchers reportedly found that the rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths in the elderly reached as high as 116 per 100,000 people. The flu vaccine allegedly offered a similar level of effectiveness to European seniors.

This season, the influenza vaccine that was distributed across the nation included protection against three strains of the virus: H3N2, Influenza B, and H1N1. Although the vaccine was allegedly 67 percent effective against the Influenza B strain in seniors, it was only nine percent effective against the H3N2 strain. H1N1 purportedly failed to be detected in the overall population at any sort of significant rate. According to researchers, the H3N2 strain of the flu virus was the most commonly transmitted this season. The vaccine’s overall effectiveness for children over six months of age was allegedly 56 percent. For some age groups, it supposedly prevented the flu in 58 percent of cases.

The reportedly statistically insignificant rate of H3N2 flu prevention in American seniors could be why the season’s rate of flu-related hospitalization and death was purportedly one of the highest on record. Joe Bresee, Chief of Epidemiology and Prevention in the CDC’s Influenza Division, said although the current flu season was moderately severe for most Americans, it was much more severe for the elderly population. Bresee stated the effectiveness of most vaccines decreases with age. Still, researchers are purportedly puzzled as to why the vaccine failed to work for seniors in such large numbers this year.

CDC researchers cautioned against reading too much into the survey results as chronic medical conditions could have played a role in higher illness and mortality rates for the elderly. In addition, only those individuals who sought medical treatment were surveyed. The CDC reportedly plans to perform further influenza vaccine effectiveness research in the future. Bresee stated anyone who works with adults over age 65 on a regular basis should be sure to obtain an influenza vaccine as a precautionary measure.

Since nursing home residents normally live in close proximity to one another, communicable diseases like the flu can spread quickly. Proper sanitation measures are vital to ensure the health of skilled nursing facility patients. Although direct care workers at Illinois nursing homes are required to take simple precautionary measures designed to control the spread of disease, many allegedly fail to do so. Unfortunately, this can have tragic consequences for elderly or frail facility residents. If your friend or family member died after he or she contracted a preventable disease at a nursing home in Illinois, you should contact a quality nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer.

If you lost a loved one as a result of the care he or she received at an Illinois nursing home, you should give the knowledgeable attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 924-7575 today. Our capable Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly and disabled friends and family members. For a free consultation with a dedicated advocate, do not hesitate to contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Study Claims Nursing Home Residents in Illinois and Elsewhere Are Often Prescribed Dangerous Anti-Psychotic Medications Despite FDA Black Box Warning, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2013
Deficiency Reports for Nursing Homes in Illinois and Missouri Now Available Online, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2013
Additional Resources:

Flu vaccine barely worked in people 65 and older, by Elizabeth Weise, USA Today


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