Objective: We sought to estimate age-specific hospitalization rates attributed to influenza and other virus for adults.
Methods: Admissions from Canada's national hospitalization database (Canadian Institute of Health Information), from 1994/95 to 1999/2000, were modeled as a function of proxy variables for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other viral activity, seasonality and trend using a Poisson regression model and stratified by age group.
Results: The average annual influenza-attributed hospitalization rate for all adults, 20 years of age or older, over the study period, which included three severe seasons, was an estimated 65/100,000 population (95% CI 63-67). Among persons aged 65 and over, 270-340 admissions per 100,000 population per year were attributed to influenza, while 30-110, 60-90 and 130-350 per 100,000 were attributed to RSV, parainfluenza (PIV) and other respiratory viruses, respectively. Although marked season-to-season variation in age-specific hospitalization rates attributable to influenza was observed in persons 50 years of age and older, increasing risk with age was preserved at all time periods.
Conclusions: Influenza, RSV, PIV and other respiratory viruses were all associated with morbidity requiring hospitalization, while influenza was responsible for peak respiratory admissions. The burden of health care utilization associated with respiratory viruses is appreciable beginning in the sixth decade and increases significantly with age.