CDC: Flu hospitalization rate nearly twice as high in poor communities

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Flu-related hospitalizations are nearly twice as common in high-poverty areas as in low-poverty areas, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A collaborative initiative among 14 states that examined the association between census tract-level poverty and incidence of influenza-related hospitalization found increasing rates of influenza-related hospitalization with increasing census tract poverty. The finding was present during two influenza seasons, among all 14 sites, all age and racial/ethnic groups. “Possible contributing factors are lower vaccination rates in residents of poorer census tracts, poverty-related crowding with higher rates of influenza transmission, and higher prevalence of medical conditions predisposing persons to influenza complications in poorer areas,” the authors said. “…Regardless of the causes, to reduce poverty-associated disparities in influenza-related hospitalizations, there is a need to increase influenza vaccination levels in higher poverty neighborhoods and to more fully implement recommendations on the use of antivirals in the outpatient setting.”

Topic: Community Health
Tags: socioeconomic status, population health, prevention

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