Edited by Prof Adrienne Randolph
Ten years ago, a novel strain of influenza virus caused panic as it spread worldwide, filling emergency rooms and hospitals beyond capacity. Starting April 2009, for one year at least 150,000 and up to 575,000 people worldwide died from influenza virus complications, the vast majority being healthy children and younger adults. Initially called by various names, including swine flu, the influenza A H1N1pdm09 virus highlighted the risk of an influenza pandemic similar to that of 1918 which wiped out approximately 1% of the population. During and after the 2009 pandemic, the critical care literature was replete with influenza-related articles. Then H1N1pdm09 became a seasonal strain, herd immunity increased, and annual influenza outbreaks continued their usual onslaught on the very young, the very old, and patients with chronic conditions.
Unfortunately, the next influenza A pandemic is inevitable, therefore Critical Care has joined the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and others to update clinicians and researchers on progress made in the decade since 2009 by focusing on influenza critical illness with this series. In our first article, Drs. Chow, Doyle and Uyeki focus on prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of influenza-related critical illness -- a timely topic as pandemic and seasonal influenza-related severe complications often meet sepsis criteria. Our second article by Drs. Kalil and Thomas explains influenza virus pathophysiology and epidemiology. Further articles in the series will soon follow.
This series of articles, published in Critical Care, has not been sponsored. All articles have undergone the journal’s standard peer review process overseen by the Series Editor, with final decisions made by the Editor in Chief. The Series Editor and Editor in Chief declare no competing interests.
We welcome the submission of original research relating to influenza critical illness to be a part of this series.