Study: Seniors 85 and older face greater risk of death from flu

Share this content:

The flu kills nearly 8% people 85 and older who are hospitalized due to the illness, according to a new government study. The rate is about 3% for those aged 65 to 84.

More than 21,000 people were hospitalized specifically for influenza in 2004 and another 16,000 were hospitalized with influenza along with another illness, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report said.

The AHRQ, which analyzed thousands of hospital records nationwide, also found the highest rate of flu-related hospitalizations occurred in the Midwest — 11 per 100,000 population. Western states were found to have the lowest rate, 2.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 population.

More than 100 million doses of flu vaccine are available this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that everyone over 50, people with chronic diseases, healthcare workers and others, including pregnant women, get vaccinated each year.