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Stroke prevention bias

The importance of encouraging COPD patients to attend for flu immunisation is highlighted by research revealing a link between exacerbations of the disease and respiratory virus outbreaks in children.

Adult hospital admissions for acute COPD rose alongside detection rates of respiratory virus infections in children ­ and when children were on school holidays there was a reduction in COPD admissions.

There was a particular link between COPD admission rates and outbreaks of influenza A, influenza B, adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. COPD admissions were increased for up to two weeks after detection of RSV and influenza A.

Study leader Dr Terry McManus, a specialist registrar in respiratory medicine at Belfast City Hospital, said: 'The main implications for GPs are that respiratory viral infection plays a significant role in precipitating acute exacerbations of COPD. All COPD patients should be encouraged to attend for influenza vaccination as this has been shown to improve morbidity and mortality.'

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