Experts concerned about flu, MRSA combo

April 27, 2008 at 2:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) -- There has been a rise in the number of U.S. children who become infected with both influenza and Staphylococcus aureus, federal health experts say.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the number of children nationwide suffering from such simultaneous infections is on the rise due to a potential link between the two conditions, ABC reported Saturday.

A Jan. 30 official health advisory from the agency said 22 of the 73 children reported to have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2007, were infected with staph bugs.

The same time period between 2005 and 2006 only yielded three such cases, the advisory showed.

Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said influenza can weaken the body to a point where it is very susceptible to secondary infections such as MRSA.

"Thus, now when children -- and maybe adults also -- get influenza that is complicated by pneumonia, the bacterial cause of the pneumonia will likely be MRSA," the preventive medicine professor told ABC. "Thus, we have a new phenomenon that can cause serious, life-threatening disease and is more difficult to treat."

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