BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National
Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) today issued a new report
stressing the need for increased influenza vaccination rates among
Americans with diabetes. The report was issued in response to alarmingly
low influenza vaccination rates among persons with diabetes, despite
recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and others.
"People with diabetes may have impaired immune systems that put them at
higher risk of serious complications from influenza," said William
Schaffner, MD, NFID Vice President. "Influenza infection can interfere with
blood sugar control, leading to low or high blood sugar and in some cases,
even diabetic coma. Studies have shown influenza vaccination protects
people with diabetes. All health care professionals who serve patients with
diabetes need to step up their efforts to assure that every patient with
diabetes is protected against influenza."
Nearly twenty of the nation's leading medical and public health groups
have joined NFID's national initiative to provide health care professionals
with practical strategies and tools to help increase low influenza
immunization rates among people with diabetes. The new resources are now
available via NFID's Web site, www.nfid.org.
Influenza is a serious and potentially deadly respiratory infection
that spreads from person to person and infects up to 60 million Americans
annually. The virus is responsible for more than 200,000 hospitalizations
and an average of 36,000 deaths in this country each year. Influenza kills
more Americans each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases
combined. It is the fifth deadliest disease in the U.S.
Today's estimates from the CDC and the ADA indicate nearly 21 million
people have diabetes, with another 54 million estimated to have impaired
fasting glucose (pre-diabetes).
More than 50 percent of those with diabetes (or at least 10 million
people) lack protection from annual influenza vaccination, despite
longstanding recommendations from the CDC and ADA. In addition, over 10
percent of deaths related to influenza and pneumonia are attributable to
Studies have proved the effectiveness of influenza vaccine in persons
with diabetes. In one study, vaccination reduced hospitalization and death
by 72 percent in people with diabetes 18 to 64 years of age. Another study
associated vaccination with a nearly 80 percent reduction in hospital
admissions in children and adults with diabetes.
In addition to vaccinating persons with diabetes, it is also important
for their close contacts, such as family members, close friends and
co-workers, to be vaccinated. Close contacts can easily transmit influenza
to those around them if they become ill.
"People don't realize how easily influenza can pass from one person to
another in social, family and work environments," said NFID Medical
Director Susan J. Rehm, MD. "Getting an influenza vaccination every year
ensures we protect ourselves and those around us, especially those more
vulnerable like people with diabetes."
NFID's Influenza and People with Diabetes Initiative
NFID's ongoing initiative is designed to help health care providers
overcome influenza immunization barriers in this population and reinforce a
comprehensive approach toward improving influenza vaccination rates among
patients with diabetes. The program aims to highlight the severe
complications influenza infection can cause, as well as reinforce the
importance of annual influenza immunization. More information about the
initiative can be found at www.nfid.org.
The recently published monograph, "Improving Influenza Vaccination
Rates in Adults and Children with Diabetes: Identifying and Overcoming
Immunization Barriers in this High-risk Population," provides a
comprehensive overview of influenza and diabetes rates in the U.S., as well
as clinical interventions, strategies and case studies for boosting vaccine
The following organizations support the goals of NFID's initiative: the
American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics,
American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Association of Diabetes
Educators, American College of Physicians, American Diabetes Association,
American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American
Pharmacists Association, Asian/Pacific Islander Health Forum, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Kaiser
Permanente of Northern California, National Association of Pediatric Nurse
Practitioners, National Diabetes Education Program, National Medical
Association, Society for Adolescent Medicine and Visiting Nurse
Associations of America.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit,
tax-exempt (501c3) organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to educating
the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, treatment and
prevention of infectious diseases. This initiative was made possible
through an unrestricted educational grant to NFID from sanofi pasteur.
Contact: Jennifer Corrigan
SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases