ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal health officials are warning that kids with neurologic disorders face a high risk of death if they get the flu.
A study by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at more than 300 influenza-related deaths in children during the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic. It found 60 percent had an underlying condition, and two-thirds of those kids had a neurologic disorder such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, or epilepsy.
The CDC's Dr. Georgina Peacock, a pediatrician and coauthor of the study, says flu is especially dangerous for kids who have problems with "muscle function, lung function or difficulty coughing, swallowing or clearing fluids from their airways."
With this year's flu season about to begin, the CDC is joining the American Academy of Pediatrics, Families Fighting Flu and Family Voices to stress the importance of flu vaccine for these children who are most vulnerable to influenza.