Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Swine Flu Deaths Linked to Secondary Infections

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday that many H1N1 pandemic influenza deaths have been linked with secondary bacterial infections, most commonly, Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can be prevented with a vaccine. The CDC has reported that in a study of 77 patients who died of the new pandemic H1N1 virus, results showed that 29 percent of them also had bacterial co-infections.

The report noted that in previous pandemics -- in 1968, 1957 and 1918 -- many of the patients who died were also infected with S. pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus and group A Streptococcus, which causes rheumatic fever and "strep throat".

CDC epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Moore suggests that people seeking H1N1 flu vaccinations, should also ask about getting a pneumococcal vaccine if they have not received it.

View the Reuters article on the report at

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