New JAMA Study Underscores Dangers of Influenza

January 8, 2003

BALTIMORE -- As reported in the January 8 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), deaths associated with influenza have increased substantially in the past two decades in the U.S. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases wants to remind the American public that there is an effective vaccine to protect against influenza. There is still plenty of vaccine available and NFID encourages those Americans who haven't already received a flu shot to contact their healthcare provider or public health department about immunization.

"The substantial increase in influenza-related deaths over the past two decades due to the aging population points to the need for better prevention measures including vaccination programs for elderly persons," said William Schaffner, MD, NFID, director and professor and chairman, Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

"It's important for caregivers, family members and healthcare providers -- those who have regular contact with anyone at high risk for complications of influenza -- to also consider vaccination as it may decrease transmission rates to those most likely to die from complications of influenza."

Founded in 1973, NFID is a non-profit organization dedicated to public and professional educational programs about, and in support of, research into causes, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.

Source: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases