Study Shows Obese People, New Moms at Greater Risk of Flu Complications

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Results of a recently conducted study by the McMaster University have revealed that new mothers and obese people, i.e. the two groups usually excluded from the at-risk lists that are targeted during vaccines shortages, have a higher risk of death and other serious outcomes from influenza.

However, the study also found out that there is very little known for sure that could help in concluding in who’s at the greatest risk of suffering severe illness and death from the flu. Lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Dr. Dominik Mertz, revealed that “there’s more work needed to make sure we actually prioritize the right group of patients.” It was added that “we would have expected much more to be available, given the huge implications on health policy.”

The World Health Organization sponsored study was published online in the BMJ, i.e. the journal of the British Medical Association, and took more than 239 cases under observational studies spanning nearly a century, starting in 1918. The study concentrated in finding out risk factors for complications such as pneumonia, need for a ventilator, admission to hospital and death. Mertz alleged that he was surprised to find out that very little quality studies are available to inform public health policies, especially since vaccine shortages in recent years required officials to decide who would be first in line for a flu shot. He pointed out that “the risk factors have never been systematically looked at.”

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