Kids' Fatal Flu Often Includes MRSA
Staph Infections, Incluing MRSA, Rising in Children's Flu Deaths
Oct. 6, 2008 --
Flu is rarely fatal in kids, but pediatric flu deaths are increasingly also
linked to other bacterial infections, including
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
CDC researchers report that news in the October edition of
The CDC's Lyn Finelli, DrPH, and colleagues studied the 166 pediatric
influenza deaths reported to the CDC from 2004 to 2007.
During that time there was a fivefold increase in flu deaths in which the
child also had a staph infection, and most of those staph infections were
In many cases, flu deaths came quickly. "Influenza was often rapidly
fatal with almost half of children dying within 72 hours of the onset of
symptoms and 75% dying within seven days; almost half died at home or in the
emergency department," write Finelli and colleagues.
The researchers highlight the importance of
flu vaccination. Most of the children who were eligible for flu vaccination
weren't fully vaccinated against flu. Of the 90 children eligible for flu
vaccination, "only 5% were fully vaccinated" against flu, the study
The 2008-2009 flu season is getting under way, and the flu vaccine is
already available as a shot or as a nasal spray. Children who are at least 6
months old are eligible to get vaccinated against flu. The CDC recommends
annual vaccination against flu, since the flu vaccine changes yearly.