December 24, 2009 in Nation/World

Swine flu threatens new moms, study finds

Vulnerability extends two weeks after birth
Alicia Chang Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – Swine flu is not only dangerous to pregnant women, but it’s a threat to new mothers too, the first study to document this risk shows.

An analysis of pregnant women and new mothers who were hospitalized with swine flu in California found that those who had a baby in the previous two weeks were at higher risk of severe flu complications.

The swine flu threat to pregnant women has been well-documented, and public health officials urged them to get vaccinated. Previous research showed expectant mothers infected with the virus are more likely to be hospitalized and face a greater risk of death than the general population.

The new report, released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first to look at the risk to women who recently gave birth and highlights “the continued high risk immediately after pregnancy,” the researchers wrote.

As a result of the research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revised its guidelines, recommending that flu drugs be given to women who show signs of the flu soon after they give birth.

The study was done by the California Department of Public Health and the CDC.

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