Risk factors and outcomes among children admitted to hospital with pandemic H1N1 influenza

O'Riordan, Sean; Barton, Michelle; Yau, Yvonne; Read, Stanley E.; Allen, Upton; Tran, Dat
January 2010
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;1/12/2010, Vol. 182 Issue 1, p39
Academic Journal
Background: Limited data are available on disease characteristics and outcomes of children with 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus infection (pandemic H1N1 influenza) who have required hospital admission. Methods: We reviewed the charts of 58 children with pandemic H1N1 influenza admitted to a large pediatric hospital in Ontario, Canada, between May 8 and July 22, 2009. We compared risk factors, severity indicators and outcomes of these children with those of 200 children admitted with seasonal influenza A during the previous 5 years (2004/05 to 2008/09). Results: Children with pandemic H1N1 influenza were significantly older than those with seasonal influenza (median age 6.4 years v. 3.3 years). Forty-six (79%) of the children with pandemic H1N1 influenza had underlying medical conditions; of the other 12 who were previously healthy, 42% were under 2 years of age. Children admitted with pandemic H1N1 influenza were significantly more likely to have asthma than those with seasonal influenza (22% v. 6%). Two children had poorly controlled asthma, and 6 used inhaled medications only intermittently. The median length of stay in hospital was 4 days in both groups of children. Similar proportions of children required admission to the intensive care unit (21% of those with pandemic H1N1 influenza and 14% of those with seasonal influenza) and mechanical ventilation (12% and 10% respectively). None of the children admitted with pandemic H1N1 influenza died, as compared with 1 (0.4%) of those admitted with seasonal influenza. Interpretation: Pandemic H1N1 influenza did not appear to cause more severe disease than seasonal influenza A. Asthma appears to be a significant risk factor for severe disease, with no clear relation to severity of asthma. This finding should influence strategies for vaccination and pre-emptive anti viral therapy.


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