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Unchanged Severity of Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Infection in Children During First Postpandemic Season

Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases | Vol:Vol. 18

By: Altmann, Mathias ; Fiebig, Lena ; Buda, Silke

11/01/2012

During the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic in Germany from Oct. 12, 2009, to Jan. 15, 2010, there were about 1.07 million influenza-related medical consultations and about 1,800 hospitalizations for children aged 14 years and younger. There were at least 29 related, laboratory-confirmed deaths in children. The highest number of notified hospitalizations and deaths occurred among children aged 10 to 14 years. A team of researchers conducted a study of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 cases among children under age 15 who were admitted to pediatric intensive care units in Germany during the 2009-2010 pandemic and the 2010-2011 postpandemic influenza seasons. The study involved 156 patients: 112 in 2009-2010 and 44 in 2010-2011. Data showed a shift to younger patients in 2010-2011 (a median age of 3.2 years compared to 5.3 years), but infants under age one year were the most affected in both periods. Children with underlying immunosuppression were at greater risk for hospital-acquired infections, which accounted for 14 percent of the cases. Myocarditis was predictive of death. Seventeen percent of the children included in this study died. There were fewer cases of A(H1N1)pdm09 infection reported during the first postpandemic season, but the severity and outcome of cases did not differ significantly between the two seasons. The researchers note that preventing severe postpandemic influenza infection in children remains challenging but necessary, particularly for those with suppressed immune systems.



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