Journal Article

Influenza-Associated Mortality in Hong Kong

Chit-Ming Wong, King-Pan Chan, Anthony Johnson Hedley and J. S. Malik Peiris

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 39, issue 11, pages 1611-1617
Published in print December 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Influenza-Associated Mortality in Hong Kong

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Background. The impact of influenza on mortality in countries in subtropical and tropical regions is poorly quantified. Estimation of influenza-related illness in warm-climate regions is more difficult, because the seasonality of virus circulation is less well-defined. Partly as a result of these factors, influenza vaccine is grossly underutilized in the tropics, even for individuals ⩾65 years of age.

Methods. Weekly numbers of deaths were modeled by Poisson regression, and excess deaths attributable to influenza in Hong Kong were estimated for 1996–1999. Comparison of weekly mortality during periods of influenza predominance and periods of low influenza activity was used to derive an alternative estimate of influenza-associated mortality.

Results. Estimates derived from the Poisson model indicated that influenza resulted in 7.3 deaths per 100,000 population per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1–11.4) from cardiorespiratory disease among individuals aged 40–65 years and 102.0 deaths per 100,000 per population per year (95% CI, 61.2–142.7) among individuals aged ⩾65 years. Although respiratory diseases accounted for the majority of influenza-related deaths, influenza also contributed to 13.8% (95% CI, 4.8%– 22.7%) and 5.3% (95% CI, 1.2%–9.3%) of deaths related to ischemic heart disease.

Conclusion. Influenza is associated with deaths due to ischemic heart disease as well from respiratory diseases. Overall influenza-associated mortality in a region with a warm climate, such as Hong Kong, is comparable with that documented in temperate regions. The need for influenza vaccination in tropical regions needs to be reassessed.

Journal Article.  3824 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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