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CDC Links Infections With Swine Flu Deaths
Date:9/30/2009

Nearly a third of U.S. victims were also infected with pneumococcus or other bacteria, agency reports,,

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Bacterial co-infections are common among people who have died of H1N1 swine flu in the United States and probably contributed to their deaths, according to a new federal government study.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed lung tissue samples from 77 people who died of H1N1 flu between May and August this year and found bacterial co-infections in 22 of them (29 percent), including 10 caused by common bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Seven of the co-infections involved Staphylococcus aureus, six involved Streptococcus pyogenes, two involved Streptococcus mitis and one involved Haemophilus influenzae. Multiple pathogens were a factor in four of the cases, the CDC said.

Among those who died, their illness lasted from one to 25 days, with a median duration of six days, the CDC found. Infection with the H1N1 virus was confirmed before death in 41 people and after death in 36.

The 22 people with bacterial co-infections ranged from 2 months to 56 years old and included an equal number of males and females. They came from eight states: California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Among the other findings in the CDC study:

  • Of 18 people for whom information on medical care was available, 14 sought treatment while ill, and eight were hospitalized. At least seven required mechanical ventilation.
  • Of the nine people for whom information was available on antimicrobial therapy, seven were treated with antibiotics.
  • Previous medical history was available on 21 people, and 16 of them had underlying medical conditions that were known to increase the risk for influenza-associated complications. Also, 15 had conditio
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