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Bacteria May Cause H1N1 Death Rate Increase

A bacterial coinfection with the H1N1 pandemic flu may explain the unusually high case fatality seen in Argentina earlier this year, researchers said.

Argentina had 137 deaths out of 3,056 cases between May 17 and July 16, representing a case fatality rate of 4.5%, according to Gustavo Palacios, PhD, of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues.

That death rate was markedly higher than the roughly 0.6% seen in most other countries and was without an obvious explanation, Palacios and colleagues reported online in PLoS ONE.

But a molecular examination of nasopharyngeal swab samples from 199 people with laboratory-confirmed H1N1 infection found that Streptococcus pneumoniae was strongly correlated with severe disease and death, they said.

Comments (1)

  1. This Week in Virology #59 featured a discussion of the Argentine story with the authors, Gustavo Palacios and Mady Hornig. Check it out at http://www.twiv.tv/2009/11/22/twiv-59-dog-bites-virus/

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