TUESDAY, Dec. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — In a report published in the Dec. 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data are presented on coinfection with influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in pediatric patients.

Using data from two Respiratory Virus Hospitalizations Surveillance Network platforms, Katherine Adams, M.P.H., 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 percent (32 of 575) of pediatric influenza-associated hospitalizations and 16 percent (seven of 44) of pediatric influenza-associated deaths, SARS-CoV-2 coinfection occurred. A higher proportion of those hospitalized with versus without coinfection received invasive mechanical ventilation (13 versus 4 percent) and bilevel positive airway pressure or continuous positive airway pressure (16 versus 6 percent). None of the seven 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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