Pregnant women were identified as being at special risk of flu complications during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009, and since then all pregnant women have been urged to be vaccinated every winter.
Researchers in the US and South Africa have now found another potential benefit of vaccination, hitherto unrecognised. A study published by the American Medical Association showed a fourfold increase in the rate of bipolar disorder, in children of mothers who suffered from flu whilst pregnant, based on a retrospective review of the mothers’ medical records. The study was prompted by a known seasonal tendency of people with schizophrenia and related mental health issues to have birthdays in late winter or early spring, and provides yet another incentive to avoid coming down with flu during pregnancy.
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