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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Swine flu linked to stillbirth

19th October 2011

A new study has suggested swine flu could be linked to an increased risk of stillbirth.

Baby Ward

Research carried out by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University found that babies born to mothers who contracted the swine flu virus faced a much greater risk of being stillborn.

Figure show that baby deaths among women infected with the 2009 strain of the virus were five times higher than normal and there was also a greater risk of premature births when compared to mothers who had not caught the virus.

The research team looked at cases of every pregnant woman in the UK, who was admitted to hospital with swine flu.

Of the 256 mothers infected with the H1N1 flu virus between September 2009 and January 2010, seven of the babies were stillborn and three died soon after birth.

The figures equates to 39 babies in 1,000 dying compared 7 in 1,000 in mothers not infected with the virus.

Study leader Dr Marian Knight said: “This new evidence of the risk to babies shows even more clearly the severe consequences H1N1 flu infection can have in pregnancy. By getting vaccinated against flu, women can prevent these risks to both themselves and their unborn child.”

Uptake of flu vaccinations among pregnant women in England is low and has led Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, to urge all pregnant women to get the injection.

Janet Scott, research manager at Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, also urged pregnant mums to get vaccinated.


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