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Bacterial Infections linked to H1N1 flu deaths

Jenny Decker RN's picture

In an early release of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published on September 30, it was reported that several bacterial infections were linked to h1n1 deaths. Lung tissue samples were available to the CDC from 77 people who died of theH1N1 flu. Bacterial co-infections were found in 29%, aged 2 months to 56 years old.

Some of the common bacteria found in co-occurrence with the swine flu included Streptococcus pneumonia (pneumococcus), streptococcus pyogenes, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus mitis, and haemophilus influenza. Four of the cases included several pathogens. Some of the underlying medical conditions included asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. The 22 people who were linked to the bacterial co-infections with the H1N1 flu came from eight states. These states are California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Utah, and Virginia.

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The CDC recommends that the pneumococcal vaccine be given to those who have indications for it. These include people with underlying medical conditions that may make H1N1 complications more likely, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. For those under the age of 5 years should be given a pneumococcal conjugate. Those who are 2-64 years with an underlying medical condition should be given the pneumococcal vaccine. All who are 65 and older should be offered the PPSV23.

Both physicians and public health departments should screen for those who have indications for the vaccine and encourage the administration in order to protect the individual from complications of bacterial infections occurring at the same time as the viral infection of the pandemic flu, H1N1. The seasonal flu vaccine should also be encouraged.

Signs and symptoms of H1N1 include a high fever, sore throat, cough, and headache. Sometimes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea occurs in some cases. Antivirals should be started within a few days in order to be effective against the swine flu. Antibiotics may also be indicated. Call your doctor immediately.

Source: CDC