Researchers say kids are key to stop flu spread

By @ibtimes on

British researchers suggested that targeting kids for vaccination may help control the swine flu pandemic, the Global times reported on Thursday.

The researchers from the University of Warwick said vaccinating children rather than adults would not only help protect a group at greatest risk of exposure to the virus, but would also offer protection to unvaccinated adults.

The study suggested that targeting kids is the best way of using limited supplies of the vaccine currently being developed.

Even as there is large-scale boost in production of vaccines, if the disease increases significantly in the northern hemisphere autumn, as many experts fear, there are unlikely to be enough shots to vaccinate entire populations.

This so-called herd immunity effect would mean significantly less vaccine would be needed to help control the spread of H1N1.

Our models suggest that the larger the household -- which in most cases means the more children living at home -- the more likely the infection is to spread, said researcher Matt Keeling.

This doesn't mean that everyone in the household needs to be vaccinated but suggests that vaccination programs for children might help control a potential pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century last week because the H1N1 virus is spreading in at least two regions of the world with cases in the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.

As of 17:00 GMT, 15 June 2009, 76 countries have officially reported 35, 928 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 163 deaths, WHO website said.

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