Aims: To document risk factors, clinical features and outcomes in infants <6 months old admitted with laboratory-confirmed influenza to The Children's Hospital at Westmead during the H1N1-09 pandemic.
Methods: Prospective, hospital-based case series of infants admitted June-September 2009, identified by the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance system and supplemented by telephone interview post-discharge.
Results: Thirty-two infants <6 months old had influenza A: 18 H1N1-09, 11 H3N2 and three unknown subtypes. After discharge, 28 (88%) families were telephoned and provided additional information. Documented risk factors included close contact with young children (46%), living with a smoker (36%), intensive or special care at birth (25%), pre-existing illness (16%) and preterm birth (14%). The number of persons per household was double the state average. Only 14% of mothers were vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Infants commonly presented with cough (69%), coryza (69%), lethargy (38%), fever (31%), dyspnoea (31%) and vomiting (28%). Complications included pneumonia (22%), and bacterial (9%) and viral (6%) co-infection. Five infants (15%) required admission to intensive care, and one was mechanically ventilated. Sixteen (57%) had ongoing respiratory problems, and six (21%) presented to the Emergency Department within 6 months of discharge.
Conclusions: These novel data are clinically important. Rates of influenza in infants may be reduced by vaccinating close contacts and minimising exposure to infected contacts and cigarette smoke.
Keywords: H1N1-09 pandemic; infant; influenza; risk factor..
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).