As we approach the onset of flu season, this study seems particularly timely. The study, presented at the annual meeting of the College of Gastroenterology, shows a significantly higher incidence of flu in patients with IBD than in the general population. It remains unclear if there is a link between IBD and any flu associated respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia, which is the leading cause of hospitalization for elderly or immune compromised patients.

The study gathered data from a medical database that included inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical information. They extracted all patients with both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis; then set up a control group matched for age and sex.

The IBD patients, contracting the flu, represented approximately 700 per 100,000, as opposed to the control group, which was only 450 patients per 100,000. There was a higher number of pediatric and young adult patients who contracted the flu than any other group. And Crohn's patients tested positive for flu at a higher rate than Ulcerative Colitis patients. It should be noted that the influenza strain the year of the study was affected younger patients in general.

There is no real information that would answer the question, why? But, the information is sound enough for Influenza vaccines to be recommended for all IBD patients. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor at GI Associates of Mississippi. If you live in the Jackson/Madison/Vicksburg area and do not have a personal gastroenterologist, we invite you to look at our practice and our physicians, and see the difference a GI specialist can make. You can make an appointment request hereIf you are already a patient please use the patient portal.

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