Author(s): Centers for Disease Control
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Abstract In previous influenza pandemics, studies of autopsy specimens have shown that most deaths attributed to influenza A virus infection occurred concurrently with bacterial pneumonia, but such evidence has been lacking for 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1). To help determine the role of bacterial coinfection in the current influenza pandemic, CDC examined postmortem lung specimens from patients with fatal cases of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) for bacterial causes of pneumonia. During May 1-August 20, 2009, medical examiners and local and state health departments submitted specimens to CDC from 77 U.S. patients with fatal cases of confirmed 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1). This report summarizes the demographic and clinical findings from these cases and the laboratory evaluation of the specimens. Evidence of concurrent bacterial infection was found in specimens from 22 (29\%) of the 77 patients, including 10 caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Duration of illness was available for 17 of the 22 patients; median duration was 6 days (range: 1-25 days). Fourteen of 18 patients for whom information was available sought medical care while ill, and eight (44\%) were hospitalized. These findings confirm that bacterial lung infections are occurring among patients with fatal cases of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) and underscore both the importance of pneumococcal vaccination for persons at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia and the need for early recognition of bacterial pneumonia in persons with influenza.
This article was published in MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy