Flu jabs halve threat of embolism in under-50s

Having a flu jab could almost halve the risk of developing venous thromboembolisms (VTE) among the under 50s, according to French research.

The findings, presented at the annual AHA scientific sessions are the first to show that influenza vaccination can offer protection against VTEs, such as DVT and pulmonary embolism.

The study compared 727 people with a history of VTE with 727 others, matched for age and sex, who had not suffered a VTE.

The participants completed a questionnaire to identify whether they had been vaccinated against influenza in the previous 12 months and to identify other risk factors for VTE, like the use of oral contraceptives, frequency of long distance travel and family history of thrombotic disease.

Overall, the researchers found that among those who had received a flu jab, the risk of developing VTE fell by 26 per cent.

But the benefits of having a flu jab were found to be more pronounced in younger people. Having a flu jab reduced the risk of VTE by 48 per cent in those below theage of 52.

Lead researcher Dr Joseph Emmerich, from the University Paris Descartes, proposed that systemic inflammatory reactions to infectious agents could trigger a thrombotic process.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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