Conn. flu rates decline after new vaccine requirement
On January 1, 2011, all children between six months and 59 months of age enrolled in a licensed Connecticut day care were required to receive influenza vaccinations. The vaccination rates in the age group were 85 percent during the 2010-2011 influenza season, up from 54 percent in 2009-2010, ACEP News reports.
Emergency department visits for influenza and influenza-like illness dropped from 34 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2011.
Kimberley Yousey-Hindes, the influenza program coordinator at the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program at Yale University, reported the results at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"When compared to the 2007-2008 season, among those hospitalized with influenza, the proportion of patients six months to four years decreased as well (13 percent vs. 10 percent)," Yousey-Hindes said, according to ACEP News.
Yousey-Hindes said that laboratory-confirmed influenza cases also decreased compared with 2007-2008 and that both declines were significant statistically.
The study used data from influenza reports to the state reportable disease database, the Connecticut Emergent Infections Programs' Influenza-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance system and the Connecticut Hospital Emergency Department Syndrome Surveillance System. An estimated 60 percent of children of preschool age receive non-parental care each week, typically in child care centers, suggesting mandatory vaccination of the children could decrease flu levels throughout the country.