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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Clinical outcomes of seasonal influenza and pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in pediatric inpatients

Pranita D Tamma1*, Alison E Turnbull2, Aaron M Milstone1, Sara E Cosgrove3, Alexandra Valsamakis4, Alicia Budd5 and Trish M Perl6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, 200 North Wolfe Street, Suite 3150 Baltimore, Maryland, 21287, USA

2 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street Baltimore, Maryland, 21287, USA

3 Department of Infectious Diseases, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, 600 North Wolfe Street, Osler 424 Baltimore, Maryland, 21287, USA

4 Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, Meyer B1-193, 600 North Wolfe Street Baltimore, Maryland, 21287, USA

5 Department of Infection Control, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, 600 North Wolfe Street, Osler 424 Baltimore, Maryland, 21287, USA

6 Department of Infectious Diseases, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, 600 North Wolfe Street, Osler 424, Baltimore, Maryland, 21287, USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2010, 10:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-72

Published: 6 October 2010

Abstract

Background

In April 2009, a novel influenza A H1N1 (nH1N1) virus emerged and spread rapidly worldwide. News of the pandemic led to a heightened awareness of the consequences of influenza and generally resulted in enhanced infection control practices and strengthened vaccination efforts for both healthcare workers and the general population. Seasonal influenza (SI) illness in the pediatric population has been previously shown to result in significant morbidity, mortality, and substantial hospital resource utilization. Although influenza pandemics have the possibility of resulting in considerable illness, we must not ignore the impact that we can experience annually with SI.

Methods

We compared the outcomes of pediatric patients ≤18 years of age at a large urban hospital with laboratory confirmed influenza and an influenza-like illness (ILI) during the 2009 pandemic and two prior influenza seasons. The primary outcome measure was hospital length of stay (LOS). All variables potentially associated with LOS based on univariable analysis, previous studies, or hypothesized relationships were included in the regression models to ensure adjustment for their effects.

Results

There were 133 pediatric cases of nH1N1 admitted during 2009 and 133 cases of SI admitted during the prior 2 influenza seasons (2007-8 and 2008-9). Thirty-six percent of children with SI and 18% of children with nH1N1 had no preexisting medical conditions (p = 0.14). Children admitted with SI had 1.73 times longer adjusted LOS than children admitted for nH1N1 (95% CI 1.35 - 2.13). There was a trend towards more children with SI requiring mechanical ventilation compared with nH1N1 (16 vs.7, p = 0.08).

Conclusions

This study strengthens the growing body of evidence demonstrating that SI results in significant morbidity in the pediatric population. Pandemic H1N1 received considerable attention with strong media messages urging people to undergo vaccination and encouraging improved infection control efforts. We believe that this attention should become an annual effort for SI. Strong unified messages from health care providers and the media encouraging influenza vaccination will likely prove very useful in averting some of the morbidity related to influenza for future epidemics.