Consultations for Influenza-Like Illness in Primary Care in The Netherlands: A Regression Approach

Value Health. 2021 Jan;24(1):11-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2020.10.013. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Abstract

Objectives: To estimate the general practitioner (GP) consultation rate attributable to influenza in The Netherlands.

Methods: Regression analysis was performed on the weekly numbers of influenza-like illness (ILI) GP consultations and laboratory reports for influenza virus types A and B and 8 other pathogens over the period 2003-2014 (11 influenza seasons; week 40-20 of the following year).

Results: In an average influenza season, 27% and 11% of ILI GP consultations were attributed to infection by influenza virus types A and B, respectively. Influenza is therefore responsible for approximately 107 000 GP consultations (651/100 000) each year in The Netherlands. GP consultation rates associated with influenza infection were highest in children under 5 years of age, at 667 of 100 000 for influenza A and 258 of 100 000 for influenza B. Influenza virus infection was found to be the predominant cause of ILI-related GP visits in all age groups except children under 5, in which respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection was found to be the main contributor.

Conclusions: The burden of influenza in terms of GP consultations is considerable. Overall, influenza is the main contributor to ILI. Although ILI symptoms in children under 5 years of age are most often associated with RSV infection, the majority of visits related to influenza occur among children under 5 years of age.

Keywords: disease burden; regression.