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CDC: Co-Infections common in H1N1 deaths

ATLANTA, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Many people who have died of H1N1 influenza in the United States had other bacterial infections that likely contributed to their deaths, health officials say.

A report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says those who died of H1N1 influenza had co-infections with a common bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus.

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The CDC report included an analysis of specimens taken from 77 fatal cases of H1N1. Bacterial co-infections, including some caused by Streptococcus pneumonia, were noted in about one-third of those cases.

"Our influenza season is off to a fast start and unfortunately there will be more cases of bacterial infections in people suffering from influenza," Dr. Matthew Moore of the CDC said in a statement. "It's really important for people, especially those at high risk for the serious complications from influenza, to check with their provider when they get their influenza vaccine about being vaccinated against pneumococcus."

CDC's recommendations for vaccination against Streptococcus pneumonia are:

-- All children age 5 and younger should receive pneumococcal conjugate vaccine according to current recommendations

-- The 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) should be administered to all people age 2-64 with high risk conditions and everyone age 65 and older.

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