Influenza patients in US wrongly prescribed antibiotics?

Washington: Taking antibiotics does not help patients suffering from influenza, a viral disease, but nearly 30 percent of the flu patients who were treated during the 2012-2013 influenza season in the US may have been prescribed unnecessary antibiotics instead of antiviral therapy, says a study.

"Continuing education on appropriate antibiotic and antiviral use is essential to improve health care quality," said the research team including Fiona Havers from Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.

The new study, based on medical information from nearly 6,800 patients in five US states, looked at whether the patients who were at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu received antiviral medications as recommended.

Less than 20 percent of patients with flu symptoms who could have had benefited from antiviral medication actually received the medication, the findings showed.

Among patients who were confirmed to have had influenza through laboratory tests, 16 percent were prescribed antivirals.

In the 2012-2013 flu season, 64 children died from the flu between September 2012 and February 2013, Live Science reported.

The study was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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