Thursday, 1 September 2011
Pandemic influenza A and development of aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients
A report has highlighted the need for awareness of the possibility of developing invasive aspergillosis in severely immunocompromised patients, following hospitalisation due to infection with pandemic influenza A strain.
In 2010 the new strain of influenza - H1N1 resulted in a pandemic, with acute respiratory infection and a high mortality.
This report identifies 5 out of 57 patients who were immunosuppressed because of leukaemia treatment or transplantation, who required hospitalization due to influenza A (H1N1), then went on to develop invasive aspergillosis. The case reports indicate a higher level of frequency of invasive aspergillosis in these two high risk groups (8.8%), compared to other reported levels - raising the question of whether infection with H1N1 predisposes this patient at risk group, to developing invasive aspergillosis. This may be supported by the fact that no aspergillosis cases were seen amongst any haemotology - stem cell transplant patients.
Implementing preventative measures against infection with influenza A, H1N1 and prompt action by clinicians to consider a diagnosis of aspergillosis, is essential for these patients.