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CDC: Rare pneumonia killed 22 children

  |   Sept. 14, 2008 at 4:21 PM
ATLANTA, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Twenty-two U.S. children died last year after contracting a rare form of pneumonia that destroys the lungs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

CDC epidemiologist Jeffrey C. Hageman said the rare infection is caused by a combination of the common flu and a skin infection, leading CDC officials to recommend children receive annual flu vaccines as a precaution, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

"Since so many of these pneumonias are associated with influenza, the best prevention is to prevent influenza," Hageman said.

An additional concern in the matter is the rising number of skin infections nationwide, which CDC officials are concerned could potentially cause a rise in the number of dual infection cases.

The infection has been blamed on an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacterium staphylococcus aureus, which was blamed for five children's deaths during the 2003-2004 flu season.

The double infection caused in part by the bacterium was previously seen during the 1957-58 flu pandemic as one of the main causes for the bacterial pneumonia outbreak that killed 2 million people worldwide, the Times said.

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