Background: There are few large-scale, prospective studies of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 in children that identify predictors of adverse outcomes.
Objectives: We aimed to examine clinical epidemiology and predictors for adverse outcomes in children hospitalised with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 in Australia.
Methods: Active hospital surveillance in six tertiary paediatric referral centres (June-September, 2009). All children aged <15 years admitted with laboratory-confirmed influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 were studied.
Results: Of 601 children admitted with laboratory-confirmed influenza, 506 (84·2%) had influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. Half (51·0%) of children with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 were previously healthy. Hospital stay was longer in children with pre-existing condition (mean 6·9 versus 4·9 days; P = 0·02) as was paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) stay (7·0 versus 2·3 days; P = 0·005). Rapid diagnosis decreased both antibiotic use and length of hospital and PICU stay. Fifty (9·9%) children were admitted to a PICU, 30 (5·9%) required mechanical ventilation and 5 (0·9%) died. Laboratory-proven bacterial co-infection and chronic lung disease were significant independent predictors of PICU admission (OR 6·89, 95% CI 3·15-15·06 and OR 3·58, 95% CI 1·41-9·07, respectively) and requirement for ventilation (OR 5·61, 95% CI 2·2-14·28 and OR 5·18, 95% CI 1·8-14·86, respectively). Chronic neurological disease was a predictor of admission to PICU (OR 2·30, 95% CI 1·14-4·61).
Conclusions: During the 2009 pandemic, influenza was a major cause of hospitalisation in tertiary paediatric hospitals. Co-infection and underlying chronic disease increased risk of PICU admission and/or ventilation. Half the children admitted were previously healthy, supporting a role for universal influenza vaccination in children.
Keywords: Children; influenza; influenza A(H1N1)pdm09; outcome; pandemic.
© 2014 The Authors. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.