Coinfection With Flu, SARS-CoV-2 Described in Children

SARS-CoV-2 coinfection occurred in 6 percent of pediatric influenza-associated hospitalizations

HealthDay News — In a report published in the December 16 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data are presented on coinfection with influenza and SARS-CoV-2 in pediatric patients.

Using data from 2 Respiratory Virus Hospitalizations Surveillance Network platforms, Katherine Adams, MPH, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe the characteristics and prevalence of laboratory-confirmed influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 coinfections among patients aged younger than 18 years who had been hospitalized or died with influenza.

The researchers found that in 6% (32 of 575) of pediatric influenza-associated hospitalizations and 16% (7 of 44) of pediatric influenza-associated deaths, SARS-CoV-2 coinfection occurred. A higher proportion of those hospitalized with vs without coinfection received invasive mechanical ventilation (13 vs 4%) and bilevel positive airway pressure or continuous positive airway pressure (16 vs 6%). None of the 7 coinfected patients who died had completed influenza vaccination, and only one had received influenza antivirals.

“To prevent and mitigate the incidence of severe respiratory virus-associated illness during periods of influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 cocirculation, the public and parents should be aware of the risk for pediatric coinfection and adopt prevention strategies, including considering wearing well-fitted, high-quality masks when respiratory virus circulation is high and annual influenza vaccination and up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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