BOSTON -- An experimental flu vaccine that is sprayed up the nose has been found to be highly effective in children.
Experts hope the spray, if it reaches the market, will make the flu vaccine more acceptable to both children and adults who don't like shots.
Doctors tested the vaccine, called FluMist, on 1,602 children ages 15 months to 6 years. They received either the vaccine or a dummy spray in the summer of 1996.
During the following flu season, 1 percent of the children getting the vaccine developed influenza, compared with 18 percent in the untreated group. Those getting the vaccine were also 30 percent less likely to suffer fever with otitis media, a bacterial earache that often accompanies the flu in children.
The results were first reported by The Associated Press when they were released last July by the National Institutes of Health. They are now being published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
The study was financed by the NIH and Aviron of Mountain View, Calif., which makes the vaccine. It was directed by Dr. Robert B. Belshe of St. Louis University.