Italian study finds influenza C in pneumonia patients

A study conducted in Italy on children with pneumonia found several cases of severe co-infection with influenza C.

The study, which appears in the journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, analyzed data from four flu seasons at a pediatric clinic in Milan. It found cases of influenza C with a disease severity that resembled influenza A, according to CIDRAP News.

While influenza C is capable of infecting humans and pigs, human infections remain rare when compared to cases of influenza A and B.

Of the 391 children included in the study, influenza C was found five times. Influenza A was detected in 26 children and influenza B in 3. Influenza C was only found in two of the seasons used in the study. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the five cases of influenza C were clustered in two of the six lineages, Kanagawa/1/76 and Sao Paulo/378/82.

The scientists behind the study said that their work was the first that they know of that analyzes the importance of influenza C in pediatric community-acquired pneumonia. They said more work needs to be done to determine what role the virus might play during other parts of the year. Other studies have shown that influenza C does not follow the same seasonal pattern as the other flu types, CIDRAP News reports.