What other conditions can significantly increase the severity of the flu?

What other illnesses can turn the flu into something more serious this year?Author: NIAID

Although almost no one has talked about it for four years due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the fact is Influenza still kills every year.only in activities 2019/2020the Influenza Surveillance System of the Carlos III Health Institute attributes the virus to some 3,900 deaths.


as pointed out Dr. Estanislao Nistar VeranDirector of the Virology and Innate Immunity Research Group at CEU San Pablo University (USPCEU).

“Although we are already familiar with the word influenza, this disease kills more people in Spain than traffic accidents.”

  • “There are different physical condition, ageor disease causing patients with influenza High risk of complications and death“.

Having influenza and bacterial pneumonia at the same time triples risk of death

Learn what factors make the flu worse each year

Therefore, many researchers are interested in understanding Factors that aggravate this pathology during the annual flu season.

In this sense, this is the conclusion of a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, coordinated by the USPCEU and in collaboration with the Immunology and Transplantation Unit of the National Microbiology Center of the Carlos III Institute of Health (ISCIII) Yes, this year:

  • suffer influenza Co-occurring with bacterial pneumonia more than triples the risk of death.

To come to this conclusion, researchers Data from more than 48,000 patients analyzed Published between 2010 and 2020, from 135 studies in 28 countrieslooking for the main causes of increased flu severity.

The results indicate that bacterial lung infection is one of the most relevant risk factors for influenza virus infection.

Bacterial lung infections are one of the major risk factors for influenza.

One of the keys to preventing bacterial pneumonia

As they detail Javier Arranz-Herrero and Jesus Presafirst author of the study:

“Some of the bacteria that cause these secondary pneumonias can live inside our bodies and colonize our upper respiratory systems or infect us from the outside. The most common are, e.g. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureusyes It is responsible for more than 60% of influenza-related bacterial pneumonias“.

he Dr. Estanislao Nistar VeranThe USPCEU Director noted that the analysis yielded particularly interesting data, e.g. The combination of influenza and bacterial lung infection more than triples the risk of death.

  • This conclusion makes Preventing bacterial pneumonia is critical to reducing the risk of infection patient mortality influenza. Problem is, the study also noted that bacterial complications in flu cases may be underdiagnosed.

Therefore, researchers insist that it is necessary Develop preventive, diagnostic and antibiotic treatment strategies in high-risk situations Complications associated with influenza infection.

In addition to this type of pneumonia, researchers Other illnesses have been found to increase the risk of death when coinfected with influenzabetween them:

  • chronic blood disease

  • Nervous system disease

  • renal insufficiency

  • Immunosuppressive

  • Liver Disease

  • Chronic cardiovascular disease.

Prevention is key.

Were the deaths from the 1918 influenza epidemic caused by bacteria?

One of the curiosities aroused by the study was that it asked whether most of the deaths from the so-called “Spanish flu” pandemic of the early 20th century – about 50 million people – might have been due to bacterial infections associated with flu cases.

  • “More than 90% of lung autopsy analyzes are from People who died from influenza during the 1918 influenza pandemic had high levels of bacteria in their bodieswhich may be more lethal than caused by viral infection alone,” the authors note.

Obviously, the results show Improving outcomes for patients with influenza infection is key:

  • Prevention through vaccination

  • along with public health containment measures

  • Early diagnosis

  • he Correctly treat bacterial infections to prevent Other bacteria may emerge that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

The researchers also note that the current COVID 19 crisis highlights the urgent need to develop new strategies to improve our health systems to identify and reduce specific risks.

this Children and the elderly are most at risk People who have complications from the flu:

“This work attempts to use concrete values ​​to highlight weaknesses that must be taken into account Facing better flu care”the study’s authors concluded.

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