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Co-infection is Frequent in Patients Hospitalized with Influenza

Data from this study also indicated an increased rate of co-infection over time—from 11.4% in 2009 to 23.4% in 2015. However, the researchers could not explain the cause of this increase.
A US study involving 683 influenza patients found that 30.3% had a bacterial co-infection. According to the researchers, S. aureus—and predominantly methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)—was most commonly isolated.
Dr. Luyt and Dr. Rice also emphasize that co-infection in patients with influenza is associated with a higher mortality rate than that with primary viral infection. This could be due to either the bacterial infection itself or to an association of virulence factors from both virus and bacteria, they add.
On the basis of these findings, clinicians should therefore initiate early, empiric antibiotic therapy in patients with influenza who are admitted to the ICU, the authors say. In the United States, clinicians should also consider the high incidence of MRSA as they make their initial choice of antibiotics.
“If P. aeruginosa incidence is increasing over time (which remains to be confirmed in further studies), it may also need empiric antimicrobial coverage since it may have an impact on overall mortality,” Dr. Luyt and Dr. Rice conclude.
Dr. Parry graduated from the University of Liverpool, England in 1997 and is a board-certified veterinary pathologist. After 13 years working in academia, she founded Midwest Veterinary Pathology, LLC where she now works as a private consultant. She is passionate about veterinary education and serves on the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association’s Continuing Education Committee. She regularly writes continuing education articles for veterinary organizations and journals, and has also served on the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ Examination Committee and Education Committee.
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