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Flu Vaccines Needed for Diabetics

Diabetics between the ages of 18 and 65 are at higher risk of getting the flu than are those without the condition, a new study has shown.

The research, published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, reinforces the need to target diabetics for influenza vaccination. The study was led by Dr Jeffrey A. Johnson, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

The American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association, as well as national vaccination authorities in Canada and the UK, all recommend vaccinating people with diabetes against influenza. This latest study zeroes in on the need for vaccinations in diabetics between 18 and 65 years old.

The authors said they conducted the study because previous research on evaluating flu risk in diabetic adults had methodological problems.

In their investigation, researchers used data from Manitoba, Canada, from 2000 to 2008. Working-age adults with diabetes were identified and matched with up to two non-diabetic controls. The investigators looked at the subjects’ rates of physician visits and hospitalizations for influenza-like illness, hospitalizations for pneumonia and influenza, and all-cause hospitalizations.

Among the 163,202 people in the study, the data showed that adults with diabetes received an influenza vaccination more often than those without diabetes. After adjusting for these differences, adults with diabetes had a 6% greater increase in hospitalization associated with influenza compared to adults without diabetes.

The investigators concluded that "Our observation that working age adults with diabetes experience a greater burden of influenza than similar non-diabetic adults provides a clinical justification for targeted anti-influenza interventions; identifying particular interventions and evaluating their effectiveness in this population are questions for further research."

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