Background: Influenza-associated myositis (IAM) is an infrequent and poorly known complication of influenza virus infection in children. The aim of this study was to describe five cases of IAM and to review the literature on IAM in children.
Patients and methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of cases of IAM diagnosed at two university children's hospitals in Switzerland during two consecutive influenza seasons. Findings were compared with 39 individual case reports and five publications summarizing an additional 272 cases identified by a medical online library (MEDLINE) search.
Results: Overall, 316 cases were analyzed. IAM typically occurred in school-aged children with a 2:1 male predominance. Influenza B and A viruses were identified in 76% and 24% of cases, respectively. The median interval between onset of influenza and onset of IAM was 3 days (range 0-18). The calf muscles were involved alone or together with other muscle groups in 69% and 31% of cases, respectively. Blood creatine phosphokinase (CPK) concentration was invariably elevated. Median duration to clinical recovery was 3 days (range 1-30). Rhabdomyolysis occurred in ten of 316 patients (3%), was more common in girls (80%), more often associated with influenza A (86%), and led to renal failure in eight patients (80%).
Conclusion: Clinical and laboratory findings of IAM are highly characteristic and allow a rapid diagnosis during the influenza season.