Pneumococcal pneumonia increasing with H1N1 flu

The CDC warns that the incidence of Pneumococcal pneumonia is on the increase countrywide from H1N1 flu. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a bacterial infection. Pneumococcal vaccine is available, but only twenty-five percent of adults younger than age 65 are vaccinated against Pneumococcal pneumonia.

Most of pneumonia cases associated with H1N1 flu from Pneumococcal disease has occurred in people over age 65. Pneumonia can be serious, especially if the bacteria invade the bloodstream.

According to the CDC, “The symptoms of Pneumococcal pneumonia include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. The symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include stiff neck, fever, mental confusion and disorientation, and visual sensitivity to light (photophobia). The symptoms of Pneumococcal bacteremia may be similar to some of the symptoms of pneumonia and meningitis, along with joint pain and chills.”

The CDC update from November 24, says there is “good evidence” that the increasing incidence of Pneumococcal pneumonia is related to H1N1 flu, seen recently in the Denver Metro area where pneumonia is occurring in younger adults, age 20 to 59.

Pneumonia cases from H1N1 flu in Denver are expected to parallel what is happening in other parts of the country.

Protect yourself from Pneumococcal pneumonia and H1N1 flu by getting vaccinated, especially if you are at high risk. The H1N1 flu vaccine, despite the few mutations seen, is still considered effective and safe. Changes in the H1N1 virus are seen, but are not linked to increased disease severity or decreased effectiveness of the H1N1 influenza vaccine.

Know the symptoms of Pneumococcal pneumonia especially if you have flu symptoms or have been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza. The CDC reports that Pneumococcal pneumonia increases have been seen with H1N1 flu. Symptoms of Pneumococcal pneumonia include fever, cough shortness of breath and chest pain. Worsening symptoms that include stiff neck, confusion, and sensitivity to light and may indicate bacteremia, a sign that the bacteria has entered the bloodstream.