HealthDay News — Many clinicians are unaware of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) after severe influenza, with few using galactomannan testing in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe influenza and worsening respiratory function, according to a study published online March 11 in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mitsuru Toda, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues surveyed infectious disease specialists in the United States to clarify clinical practices regarding diagnosis of IPA in patients with severe influenza. Data were included from 114 respondents to an online survey.

The researchers found that 26 and 18 percent of respondents were familiar with reports of aspergillosis after severe influenza and had seen or heard about one or more cases at their institution, respectively. In patients with severe influenza, 31 percent of 108 responding clinicians always or very often used lower respiratory tract specimens for diagnostic testing. For patients with severe influenza in the ICU and worsening respiratory function, 8 percent of 107 responding clinicians always or very often used galactomannan testing.

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“Additional research and surveillance are needed to understand the association between IPA and severe influenza and performance of galactomannan testing in [the] severe influenza patient population,” the authors write. “It is essential for clinicians to consider IPA in patients with severe influenza who do not improve with treatment, even in those who are not immunocompromised.”

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