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Research targets school-age children and parents to stop spread of flu

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Currently, the Center for Disease Control recommends giving flu vaccinations to children under the age of 5 and adults over the age of 50 as these age groups tend to suffer more severe symptoms from the flu. But new research finds that targeting school-age children and their parents for vaccination may better contain the spread of seasonal flu or the swine flu. Using information from the flu epidemics of 1918 and 1957, researchers predicted that an influenza epidemic in the United States today would be best addressed by a targeted distribution of a vaccine to children aged 5-19 and their parents as these groups are most likely to spread the virus to the rest of the population. While 85 million vaccinations for seasonal flu are administered each year in the United States, researchers determined that targeting these ages groups would require only 63 million vaccinations. These findings offer a different approach to disease control that may inform how the nation addresses the swine flu pandemic.

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