Michael Marcus, MD talks about the reasons for the recent flu deaths.
Read the full transcript »
Male Speaker: If someone got flu, got very sick and died, what would they die from? Dr. Michael Marcus: Most of the time people who get the flu who died, died from a secondary bacterial infection that attacks the body while your resistance is low from the first influenza infection. Male Speaker: In the 1918 epidemic there were probably two bacterias, maybe three that were causing a lot of pneumonias. Today we know is Pneumococci, Haemophilus Influenzae and maybe a little bit of Staph. Is that true? Dr. Michael Marcus: Those are the bacteria that are very common and those are the ones that certainly were the most common cause of death during that Influenzae pandemic. Speaker: Doctors at the Rockefeller Institute actually created like an antisera against Pneumococcus I and II and they were actually treating Pneumococcal Pneumonia there and somewhat successful. Dr. Michael Marcus: They were able to control the Pneumonia and help people recover from the Pneumococcal Pneumonia during those years. Many different approaches have been taken over the years. At this point in time we have sophisticated antibiotics that help us fight these infections much more successfully than back in 1980. Male Speaker: Also at that time, if we get these terrible infections around the lung and then we have pus blockage around it and surgical technique that we even do today to relieve the pus from Empyema are still being one of the techniques we would do if we got that kind of an infection, is that true? Dr. Michael Marcus: That is true. When certain types of Pneumonias hit, Pneumococcus for one example, Staph for another what occurs in the body is that fluid and eventually pus can accumulate around the lung. That fluid and pus needs to be drained from that area when the amount of the fluid or pus is too great, because it makes it very difficult for the patients to breathe and it also makes it more difficult to fight the actual infection.