[Skip to Navigation]
Sign In
Grand Rounds
Clinician's Corner
January 16, 2013

Bacterial Coinfection in Influenza: A Grand Rounds Review

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Critical Care Medicine Department, Clinical Center (Dr Chertow); and Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Dr Memoli), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

JAMA. 2013;309(3):275-282. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.194139

Bacterial coinfection complicated nearly all influenza deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic and up to 34% of 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infections managed in intensive care units worldwide. More than 65 000 deaths attributable to influenza and pneumonia occur annually in the United States. Data from 683 critically ill patients with 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infection admitted to 35 intensive care units in the United States reveal that bacterial coinfection commonly occurs within the first 6 days of influenza infection, presents similarly to influenza infection occurring alone, and is associated with an increased risk of death. Pathogens that colonize the nasopharynx, including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes, are most commonly isolated. Complex viral, bacterial, and host factors contribute to the pathogenesis of coinfection. Reductions in morbidity and mortality are dependent on prevention with available vaccines as well as early diagnosis and treatment.

Add or change institution