Journal Article

Influenzavirus Infection Is a Primary Cause of Febrile Respiratory Illness in HIV-Infected Adults, Despite Vaccination

Marina B. Klein, Ying Lu, Lina DelBalso, Stéphanie Coté and Guy Boivin

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 45, issue 2, pages 234-240
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/518986
Influenzavirus Infection Is a Primary Cause of Febrile Respiratory Illness in HIV-Infected Adults, Despite Vaccination

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Background. There are, to our knowledge, no prospective studies of respiratory tract infections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—infected adults in the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. We performed a surveillance study of outpatients who presented with fever and respiratory symptoms to examine the role of viral pathogens in these patients.

Methods. Consecutive patients with a temperature of <38.0° C and respiratory symptoms were recruited from a tertiary care HIV clinic during the period 2003–2006. Nasal pharyngeal samples were tested for influenzavirus A and B, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus using real-time multiplex polymerase chain reaction assays. Paired acute- and convalescent-phase serum samples were tested for respiratory viruses by complement fixation.

Results. Fifty patients (90% of whom were receiving HAART) were included in the study (median CD4+ T cell count, 325 cells/µL; median HIV RNA level, <50 copies/mL). A causative pathogen was identified in 25 patients (50%). Even though 76% of subjects had received influenza vaccine, viral infections were diagnosed in 21 patients (42%), as follows: influenza A, 10 patients; influenza B, 10; and parainfluenza virus type 3 infection, 1. Patients with and those without viral infection had similar demographic characteristics and HIV statuses. No patients with influenza and 23% of patients with other conditions had radiography-confirmed pneumonia (P = .07). Antibiotic prescriptions were common: 70% of patients received antibiotics. No patients with influenza required hospitalization, compared with 21% of other patients (P = .03).

Conclusions. Although illness was mild, influenza accounted for a large proportion of unscheduled visits to a health care provider for respiratory illness and was associated with unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions that may contribute to antimicrobial resistance. Vaccination alone was insufficient to prevent infection. Thus, specific identification and management of influenza should be performed in HIV-infected outpatients who present with fever and respiratory symptoms.

Journal Article.  4133 words.  Illustrated.

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

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