Date: 20 Oct 2008

Influenza in Pregnancy: The Case for Prevention

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Introduction

Influenza viruses are the most common cause of serious respiratory morbidity throughout the world with annual attack rates of 10–40% during each 5–6-week winter outbreak in temperate climates. In tropical climes, the outbreaks have a less distinct and more variable seasonal pattern but the attack rates are similar. Certain populations are well recognized to be at higher risk for serious disease with influenza (Table 1) either due to age (<2 years or >65 years) or to underlying medical conditions or pregnancy (CDC, 2007a; NACI, 2007). Influenza immunization is recommended for all these high-risk groups in North America (CDC, 2007a; NACI, 2007).

While observational and anecdotal data first documented the risk of severe disease with influenza in pregnant women, more recent cohort and case control data have corroborated and defined the higher risk (Black et al., 2004; MacDonald et al., 2004; Neuzil et al., 1998; Dodds et al., 2007; Schanzer et al., 2007; Mortimer, 2006; Departm ...