Friday, December 4, 2009

U.S. sees rise in secondary infections after flu

WASHINGTON-U.S. health officials said on Wednesday they are seeing a worrying pattern of serious bacterial infections in swine flu patients, mostly among younger adults not normally vulnerable to them.
The pattern is typical of pandemics such as the current H1N1 pandemic but shows the need for patients and doctors to keep an eye out for the infections and treat them quickly, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.
"We are seeing an increase of serious pneumococcal infections around the country," Schuchat told a telephone briefing.
"That is the serious type of pneumococcal disease where the bacteria invades the blood and other internal sites." These so-called secondary infections can follow infection with a virus such as flu and often are seen among people who die from influenza.
A close look in Denver showed 58 cases of serious Streptococcus pneumonia infections in October, a month when usually about 20 cases are seen, Schuchat said. And while such infections normally affect people over 65, these were almost all among people under 60, she said...

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