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Open Access Research article

Case-based reported mortality associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus infection in the Netherlands: the 2009-2010 pandemic season versus the 2010-2011 influenza season

Rianne AB van Gageldonk-Lafeber1*, Rob M Riesmeijer1, Ingrid HM Friesema1, Adam Meijer1, Leslie D Isken1, Aura Timen1 and Marianne AB van der Sande12

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Infectious Disease Control (CIb), Bilthoven, the Netherlands

2 Utrecht University Medical Center, Julius Centre, Utrecht, the Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:758  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-758

Published: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Background

In contrast to seasonal influenza epidemics, where the majority of deaths occur amongst elderly, a considerable part of the 2009 pandemic influenza related deaths concerned relatively young people. In the Netherlands, all deaths associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus infection had to be notified, both during the 2009-2010 pandemic season and the 2010-2011 influenza season. To assess whether and to what extent pandemic mortality patterns were reverting back to seasonal patterns, a retrospective analyses of all notified fatal cases associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus infection was performed.

Methods

The notification database, including detailed information about the clinical characteristics of all notified deaths, was used to perform a comprehensive analysis of all deceased patients with a laboratory-confirmed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus infection. Characteristics of the fatalities with respect to age and underlying medical conditions were analysed, comparing the 2009-2010 pandemic and the 2010-2011 influenza season.

Results

A total of 65 fatalities with a laboratory-confirmed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus infection were notified in 2009-2010 and 38 in 2010-2011. During the pandemic season, the population mortality rates peaked in persons aged 0-15 and 55-64 years. In the 2010-2011 influenza season, peaks in mortality were seen in persons aged 0-15 and 75-84 years. During the 2010-2011 influenza season, the height of first peak was lower compared to that during the pandemic season. Underlying immunological disorders were more common in the pandemic season compared to the 2010-2011 season (p = 0.02), and cardiovascular disorders were more common in the 2010-2011 season (p = 0.005).

Conclusions

The mortality pattern in the 2010-2011 influenza season still resembled the 2009-2010 pandemic season with a peak in relatively young age groups, but concurrently a clear shift toward seasonal patterns was seen, with a peak in mortality in the elderly, i.e. ≥ 75 years of age.