Flu killed 145,000 worldwide in 2017, study finds

Lower respiratory tract infections associated with influenza were responsible for an estimated 145,000 deaths in 2017, a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine found.

As part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, researchers looked at hospitalizations, and mortality attributable to the flu for every country and selected subnational locations by age and year from 1990 to 2017.

They first estimated the incidence of lower respiratory tract infections, hospitalizations and mortality and then attributed a fraction of those outcomes to the flu.

The mortality rate from influenza-linked lower respiratory tract infections was highest among adults older than 70, and the highest rate among all ages was in eastern Europe, the study found.

"Although preparedness planning will be important for potential pandemics, health loss due to seasonal influenza [lower respiratory tract infections] should not be overlooked, and vaccine use should be considered. Efforts to improve influenza prevention measures are needed," the researchers said.

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