To obtain data on the clinical manifestations of infection, the age distribution, and the underlying conditions of children with influenza severe enough to lead to hospital referral, we performed a retrospective study of children treated at Turku University Hospital (Turku, Finland) in 1980–1999. Influenza A or B antigen was detected in the nasopharyngeal aspirates of 683 of the 15,420 children studied. The median age of children with influenza A was 2.0 years (n = 544), and that of children with influenza B was 4.2 years (n = 139) (P < .001). One-fourth of the children had an underlying medical condition. High fever, cough, and rhinorrhea were the most frequently recorded symptoms. Acute otitis media developed in 24% of the children, and pneumonia developed in 9% of the children. The study shows that the majority of patient hospitalizations for pediatric influenza involve previously healthy infants and young children. Laboratory confirmation of influenza is particularly important for children because the clinical presentation of the infection is less characteristic than that seen in adults.
Journal Article. 4664 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology
Full text: subscription required