Hong Kong Med J 2013;19:545–8 | Number 6, December 2013
DOI: 10.12809/hkmj133835
Uncommon cause of severe pneumonia: co-infection of influenza B and Streptococcus
KW Lam, KC Sin, SY Au, SK Yung
Intensive Care Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Jordan, Hong Kong
Influenza and pneumococcus co-infection can cause severe morbidity and mortality. Usually, this entails influenza A, while infection by influenza B is rarely serious. The literature describes influenza A epidemics leading to prolific loss of lives, notably the 1918 epidemic was blamed for the deaths of 40 to 50 million people. In this report, four patients were infected by influenza B during the influenza epidemic of 2011/12 in Hong Kong. All of them were previously healthy and had no chronic diseases; they were admitted to the hospital due to influenza-like symptoms. They rapidly deteriorated with multi-organ failure, and were subsequently diagnosed to be infected with influenza B and streptococci that gave rise to severe pneumonia. Three of them were infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae and one with Streptococcus pyogenes. All of them had leukopenia, septic shock, and acute kidney injury; two of whom died despite aggressive antibiotic treatment and organ support in the intensive care unit. According to the literature, this is the second case report of severe invasive pneumococcal pneumonia secondary to influenza B infection.
Key words: Influenza B virus; Intensive care; Shock, septic; Streptococcus
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