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Researchers have found data suggesting that prematurely born children are at a greater risk of developing the flu. However, many countries do not currently list this as a risk factor. As of today, the US, UK, and World Health Organization do not recognize premature birth as a risk for contracting the flu.
An analysis of over 14,000 children documented in 27 different studies found that prematurely born children are nearly twice as likely to develop flu complications. This information is highly significant because the world average for premature births currently includes approximately 10% of the population.
The existing at-risk groups include those with neurological disorders, weakened immune systems, and diabetes. This risk factor can now be added among the group of at-risk individuals. Policy makers are urged to use this data to design intervention programs.
Researchers also noted that an at-risk population was 48% more likely to be hospitalized for flu related complications than otherwise healthy persons. Additionally, if an individual was among 2 at-risk groups, the chance of hospitalization increased to 74%.