Thursday, July 30, 2009

Expectant women more at risk?

A pregnant woman
A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LONDON - Pregnant women who get Influenza A (H1N1) are at least four times as likely to be hospitalised as other people with the virus, a new study says.

While experts do not know if pregnant women are more susceptible to getting H1N1, they say that once pregnant women are infected, they have a higher risk of complications.

Researchers at the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysed the first 34 US cases, including six deaths, of H1N1 in pregnant women from April to mid-June.

They concluded that expectant women suspected of having H1N1 should be given Tamiflu as soon as possible, even before tests confirm the diagnosis.

The experts also recommended that they should be among the first in line when a vaccine is ready.

The study was published online yesterday in the medical journal Lancet.

Lead researcher Denise Jamieson from the US CDC, said the agency does not recommend any special precautions for pregnant women to avoid catching the flu virus.

But if they do catch the virus, doctors need to act fast, preferably within 48 hours of developing symptoms.

Of the six fatal cases in the Lancet study, nearly all had viral pneumonia before experiencing acute respiratory problems, and were put on ventilators before they died.

Aside from one woman who had asthma and another who was obese, the pregnant women were essentially healthy, said Ms Jamieson. AP

From TODAY, World – Thursday, 30-Jul-2009