Six U.S. Deaths Due to MRSA Pneumonia in Children, Adults

Physicians should be vigilant during flu season

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza complicated by severe methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) community-acquired pneumonia caused six deaths among previously healthy children and adults in Louisiana and Georgia in December 2006 and January 2007, according to a report in the April 13 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said such cases may be on the rise and physicians should be vigilant for the signs and symptoms.

Researchers at the Louisiana Office of Public Health in Baton Rouge, and colleagues described three of the 10 cases that were reported to the CDC in January 2007. MRSA community-acquired pneumonia was defined as pneumonia requiring hospitalization or resulting in the death of a patient from whom a specimen yielded MRSA when collected within 48 hours after presentation at the hospital.

These were the first reported cases of the 2006-2007 flu season in Louisiana and Georgia. The median age of the patients was 17.5 years and five were female. One patient had a history of chronic hepatitis C and hypertension, and two smoked, but the others did not have any relevant medical history. Physicians diagnosed a flu-like illness in all 10 patients.

"These cases underscore the need for health-care providers to be vigilant, especially during the influenza season, for severe cases of the community-acquired pneumonia that might be caused by MRSA," the study authors conclude.

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