Flu Cases On The Rise in the US, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients at Increased Risk

January 7, 2013

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Lenora E. Houseworth
(646) 943-7415; communications@ccfa.org  


Flu Cases on the Rise in the US, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients at Increased Risk

January 8, 2012- (New York, NY) – The latest report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the flu is now widespread in 41 states, and the number of flu cases is expected to increase. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is reminding patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases or IBD) to get an influenza (flu) immunization if they have not already.

“Patients with chronic diseases, including patient with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, are at increased risk of infection with the influenza virus," said Dr. Jason Swoger, an advisor from the CCFA Education Committee. "Patients with IBD are often on medications that affect their immune system, which make them more susceptible to contracting influenza, and can also lead to a more severe disease course." 

IBD patients can prevent flu complications, which can include pneumonia, blood infections and death in extreme cases, with an annual flu shot. Current recommendations are for all patients with IBD to receive a flu shot on an annual basis.

"Patients with IBD should not receive the intranasal influenza vaccine, as this is a live virus. Only the flu shot should be given to these patients," adds Dr. Swoger.

Flu season usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as late as May. Early immunization is the most effective, but it is not too late to get the vaccine in December, January, or beyond. The best time to vaccinate is when patients are newly diagnosed with IBD and are not on any form of immunosuppression such as medication and radiation.

CCFA does not endorse specific treatments or vaccinations, and always encourages patients to discuss their treatment options and the risks associated with their physicians. Learn more about the flu vaccine for IBD patients at: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/assets/pdfs/Flu-IBD2010.pdf.

About CCFA
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest voluntary nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). CCFA’s mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public, and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, like us on Facebook, find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter and Pinterest.

About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC mission is collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats. Learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/.


Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org).

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