Possible association of influenza A with fetal loss: investigation of a cluster of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths

Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev. 1994 Mar 4;4(3):R28-32.


It has been suspected that influenza infection is associated with fetal or perinatal mortality, but little recent evidence supports this hypothesis. A small cluster of early and late fetal deaths in early 1986 prompted an epidemiological investigation. Women whose pregnancies were affected (cases) were compared with women whose pregnancies had a normal outcome (controls). Case pregnancies were distinguished by a significant excess of recent flu-like illness (p = 0.006), and were significantly more likely than controls to have serological evidence of influenza A infection (p = 0.00067), predominantly the influenza A H3N2, Christchurch/4/85-like strain. The cluster was recognised because most cases were patients of one health centre. Larger epidemiological studies will be needed to confirm an association between influenza A and fetal death, but this cluster suggests that influenza A may have an adverse influence on fetal survival.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology*
  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus*
  • Influenza, Human / complications*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / epidemiology
  • Wales / epidemiology