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Swine Flu Tied to Rise in Pneumonias Among Young
Date:11/25/2009

On more positive note, CDC sees few signs of trouble with the H1N1 vaccine,,

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The ongoing H1N1 swine flu pandemic may be driving a recent spike in dangerous pneumonias among younger patients, a U.S. health official said Wednesday.

"We are seeing an increase in serious pneumococcal infections around the country," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a press conference. "Pandemics put us at risk for not just flu problems, but also bacterial pneumonia problems," she added.

These bacterial infections commonly infect the lungs and sometimes the bloodstream. During most flu seasons, secondary infections such as pneumonia typically occur in people 65 and older, she said.

However, in this pandemic the increase in pneumococcal infections is being seen primarily among younger people, Schuchat said.

For example, in Denver, the average number of severe pneumococcal infections in October typically averages about 20. "But in October 2009 they had nearly triple that number -- 58 serious pneumococcal cases," she said. "Most of that increase has been in adults under the age of 60."

The findings mirror trends in other parts of the country, Schuchat said.

Schuchat noted that a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal infections is available, but "only about one-quarter of high-risk adults have received the pneumococcal vaccine," she said.

People with diabetes, emphysema, chronic heart, lung and liver disease should get this vaccine, Schuchat said.

The supply of H1N1 swine flu vaccine continues to grow, she said. As of Wednesday there were a total of 21.2 million doses "available for the states to order," Schuchat said, and since last Friday, the supply has increased by over 7 million doses. The total number of doses is now 61.2 milli
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