Flu season is still several months off, but public health officials are already planning for the possibility of a swine flu epidemic. A study published in The Lancet shows that pregnant women are at especially high risk from the new H1N1 flu virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are four times more likely to be hospitalized with this influenza and also more likely to die from it than other adults.
Vaccine for the H1N1 flu will not be available before October, but the CDC is likely to designate pregnant women as a high-priority group to receive vaccine as soon as possible. Some data suggest that when pregnant women are immunized their newborn babies also receive a degree of protection. Other officials are recommending that pregnant women who catch swine flu before being vaccinated should be treated with anti-viral flu medicine.
[The Lancet, July 29, 2009]