Data show flu hits poor populations hardest

Incidence of hospitalizations related to flu virus in areas where at least 20 percent of the population is below the poverty line were twice as high as areas where under 5 percent of the population was impoverished, according to new data published in JAMA.

Researchers reviewed two flu seasons' worth of data that covered 27 million Americans who were hospitalized across 14 national flu surveillance networks. They found that poorer hospital patients with flu were less likely to have been vaccinated and were more likely to live in conditions that contribute to infection spread, such as close living quarters.

"By identifying unique demographic groups like poor people, who have more serious complications from influenza, local vaccination efforts can be better targeted and clinicians can be prepared to offer early antiviral therapy," the authors concluded. 

More articles on infection control:

CDC flu update: Positive results from lab-confirmed tests fall for first time this season 
Providers using athenahealth EHR to track flu increases in real-time 
FDA announces picks for likely 2016-2017 flu strains 

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