Flu Endangers People Who Have Primary Immunodeficiencies

Fast diagnosis and treatment are a must, the CDC says.

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In an influenza season that has stricken many otherwise healthy people, those who have primary immune deficiencies (PI) are at increased risk of complications and need quick treatment with antiviral medication if influenza symptoms appear, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


The CDC has released a flu advisory that includes immune-suppressed patients among other high-risk groups, such as children and the elderly. In addition to getting a recommended flu vaccine every year, people whose immune systems don’t work properly need fast treatment with antiviral medications if they show symptoms of the flu, the CDC recommends.


Antiviral medicines have been found to shorten the duration of influenza and severity of symptoms. Doctors and hospitals should prescribe and administer these medications even before lab results confirm that the patient has the flu, the CDC urges in the advisory.


 “We want all our primary immunodeficiency patients to take influenza seriously,” said Dr. Ann Bullinger, Pharm. D., who leads the U.S. medical affairs team for CSL Behring’s immunoglobulin therapy area. “Check with your doctor about preventive measures and be sure to get immediate attention if you show any signs of the flu,” she said. CSL Behring is a global leader in the production of immunoglobulin, a critical medicine for patients who have a primary immunodeficiency, of which there are more than 300 types.


The Immune Deficiency Foundation offers information about the CDC advisory on its website: https://www.primaryimmune.org/about-primary-immunodeficiencies-related-health-issues/cdc-advisory-flu-increasing-be-ready


Visit the CDC’s flu information page: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm


Learn more about the flu outbreak in the United States: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/very-intense-flu-season-on-track-to-break-records-cdc/