Excess mortality associated with annual influenza epidemics is highest among persons over 65 y of age, and therefore influenza is often regarded as an illness of the elderly population. Ample evidence indicates, however, that the burden of influenza is also substantial in children, and that children have a central role in the spread of influenza in the community during epidemics. Vaccination of children against influenza could bring about substantial health benefits not only to children themselves but also to persons in other age groups.
Conclusion: General awareness about the total impact of influenza in children should be increased among both healthcare personnel and the parents of children. More widespread vaccination of children should be considered to decrease the burden of influenza on children and wider society.