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Winter brings flu, summer brings bacterial infections
Date:11/26/2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. In the same way that winter is commonly known to be the "flu season," a new study suggests that the dog days of summer may well be the "bacterial infection" season.

Researchers have discovered that serious infections caused by gram-negative bacteria can go up as much as 17 percent with every 10 degree increase in seasonal temperature. The findings, which were based on seven years of data from infections in a Baltimore hospital, suggest that the incidence there of some of these illnesses might be up to 46 percent higher in summer than in winter.

The cause is not known, scientists said, but the seasonal variation is clear.

"Gram-negative bacteria are a frequent cause of urinary tract, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, as well as more serious things like pneumonia, wound or blood infections," said Jessina McGregor, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. "Everyone knows there is a seasonality to some viral infections such as influenza or the common cold, but we're now finding that some of these bacterial infections peak in the heat of summer."

Recognition of these seasonal trends, the researchers said, may improve disease diagnosis, prompt treatments and better interventions to prevent the infections in the first place.

The findings were made by scientists from OSU; Dr. Eli N. Perencevich, associate professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and researchers from the University of Florida and the Research Institute of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. They were just published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, a professional journal.

The study examined infections caused by several gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. cloacae, and Acinetobacter baumannii. The greatest increases in infection due to higher temperatures were found with P. aerug
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Contact: Jessina McGregor
503-494-4722
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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