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Vaccination 'protects foetuses in flu outbreaks'
A study has found vaccinating pregnant women against influenza is good for maternal and newborn health.
The randomised, controlled trial, conducted by US and Bangladeshi researchers, found the number of babies born small for gestational age dropped among immunised mothers when there was an outbreak of the virus.
Half of the 340 healthy women studied, all of which were in their third trimester and lived in Bangladesh, were given the pneumococcal vacinne and used as a control group, while the others received protection against flu.
When influenza was in circulation, 25.9 per cent of the infants of women immunised against the virus had a low birth-weight compared with 44.8 per cent of the other babies, while the rate of preterm deliveries was also lower.
However, there was no significant difference between the proportion of children born small for gestational age when flu was dormant.
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and comes after research in Malawi that recently featured in the Public Library of Science Medicine showed babies born prematurely in the country have poorer outcomes than babies delivered at full-term.
Preterm children are at risk for growth and developmental delays, the researchers discovered.
Posted by Martine Ward