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GPs warned over bacterial co-infection in flu



By Lilian Anekwe

GPs are being warned of soaring rates of bacterial infections occurring in people with flu this season.

A letter from Dame Sally Davies, the Department of Health’s interim chief medical officer, alerted GPs to ‘an increase in a number of significant bacterial infections that may occur as co-infections with flu.’

The letter reminds GPs that the association between meningococcal disease and flu can go on for up to six weeks after the peak of the flu outbreak.

It also warns that ‘a number of data sources suggest recent increases in some bacterial infections, particularly invasive Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infection and meningococcal disease.’

These infections, along with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae, can affect people who typically are not considered to be at risk of severe illness from flu, such as those not currently in a risk group for seasonal influenza vaccination.

It also stresses GPs should remain vigilant to the possibility of bacterial co-infection, and to start antiviral and antibiotics treatment as soon as possible where appropriate.

GPs warned over bacterial co-infection in flu