Nation's Infectious Disease and Diabetes Experts Issue Comprehensive Report on Need to Improve Low Influenza Vaccination Rates Among People With Diabetes

Fewer than half of all people with diabetes receive an influenza

vaccination each year according to the National Foundation for Infectious


Aug 28, 2007, 01:00 ET from National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

    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,
     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
     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