Influenza

Study: Kids at greater autism risk if moms had infection while pregnant

Photo of pregnant woman undergoing sonogram
Photo: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Children of women who had been hospitalized with infections like the flu, pneumonia and sepsis while pregnant may have a much greater risk of having depression or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry.

Why it matters: There's been some debate in the scientific community on whether infections in utero could be a factor in the development of ASD. This large and long-term study — which showed a 79% increased ASD risk and a 24% increased depression risk in those children — offers further evidence there may be a link, plus new information that this could also be a factor in depression, study author Kristina Adams Waldorf tells Axios.

This year's flu shot is working well

Flu shot
Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

This flu season is shaping up to be a lot milder than last year's nightmare, and scientists attribute that in large part to a more effective vaccine.

The big picture: This year's flu shot is about 47% effective against the dominant strain of influenza, per NBC News. Last year's shot was 36% effective at this interim stage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that somewhere between 9,600 and 15,900 people have died from the flu since Oct. 1. That puts this flu season on pace to be a lot less deadly than last year's, when 80,000 people died.

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