Influenza-associated bacterial pneumonia; managing and controlling infection on two fronts

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Bacterial pneumonia complicating influenza is well-recognized as a severe manifestation of influenza, accounting for a substantial number of deaths from the 1918 influenza pandemic. Influenza-associated bacterial pneumonia remains a major contributor to the burden of influenza, and poses new challenges as antibiotic-resistant organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus spread. We provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of the epidemiology and co-pathogenesis of influenza-associated bacterial pneumonia, and outline management approaches and their limitations. We review preventative measures and discuss implications for pandemic planning. Knowledge gaps are underscored and future research directions are proposed.

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