Now that the hubbub surrounding the H1N1 flu virus has mostly subsided in the US, with no reported widespread outbreaks, a new report has been released stating that a major concern for all flu victims is secondary infection. A secondary bacterial infection can occur in the one to two weeks after recovering from the flu, causing conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, and could be life threatening for some. Those with asthma should particularly be cautioned.
The article in Medical News Today online suggested a current cause for alarm in regard to “super-infections” which could greatly affect the morbidity and morality rate of any influenza outbreak. This is especially concerning knowing that the traditional flu season is just getting started and may not completely subside until May.
With this information it is apparent that vaccination and practicing good hygiene (washing hands, and coughing into your elbow, etc.) is even more important to prevent not only the spread of any viruses, but also the possibly even more lethal bacteria. The report also that showed infection by antibiotic-resistant strains have been increasing in recent years.
In today’s posted article, “Bacterial Super-Infection After The Flu,” it says that a “lethal synergy between influenza virus and the bacterial respiratory pathogen, H. influenzae is mediated by innate immunity. They observed that severe damage to the airways was an early event in the co-infected mice, eventually leading to death.”
In the flu outbreak of 1918, at least half of the people who died succumbed to secondary bacterial infection (one article on UPI.com even stated that 95 percent of nearly 50 million victims). This could be caused by a molecule, interferon, that is involved with the immunity mechanism of the body; its job is to clear the virus, but has been shown to paralyze the body’s normal defenses against bacterial infection.
These super-infections are not targeting the very old and very young like the H1N1 alerts had claimed. Normal healthy adults also can find problematic results following flu, and bacterial pneumonia remains a considerable threat today regardless of antibiotics.