Background: In April 2009 a novel influenza A H1N1/2009 virus was identified in Mexico and in the United States which quickly spread around the world. Most of the countries established infection surveillance systems in order to track the number of (laboratory-confirmed) H1N1 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Methods: The impact of the emergence of the novel pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus on Frankfurt was statistically evaluated by the Health Protection Authority, City of Frankfurt am Main.Vaccination rates of the health care workers (HCWs) of the University Hospital Frankfurt were measured by the Occupational Health Service.
Results: Although the virulence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 seems to be comparable with seasonal influenza, a major patient load and wave of hospital admissions occurred in the summer of 2009.Even though the 2009 vaccination rate of the University Hospital Frankfurt (seasonal influenza [40.5%], swine flu [36.3%]) is better than the average annual uptake of influenza vaccine in the German health care system (approximately 22% for seasonal and 15% for swine flu), vaccination levels remain insufficient.However, physicians were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to have been vaccinated against swine flu and seasonal influenza than nurses.
Conclusions: The outbreak of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in April 2009 provided a major challenge to health services around the world. Nosocomial transmission of H1N1/2009 has been documented. Present experience should be used to improve pandemic preparedness plans and vaccination programs ought to target as many HCWs as possible.