Pregnant women have an unusually strong immune response to influenza, an unexpected finding that may explain why they get sicker from the flu than other healthy adults, new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has found.
The results were surprising because immune responses are thought to be weakened by pregnancy to prevent the woman’s body from rejecting her fetus.
The study, which will be published online Sept. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to examine the reactions of immune cells taken from pregnant women to influenza viruses, including the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 flu pandemic.
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