Journal Article

Virologically Confirmed Population-Based Burden of Hospitalization Caused by Influenza A and B among Children in Hong Kong

Susan S. Chiu, Kwok-Hung Chan, Hong Chen, Betty W. Young, Wilina Lim, Wilfred Hing Sang Wong, Yu Lung Lau and J. S. Malik Peiris

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 49, issue 7, pages 1016-1021
Published in print October 2009 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/605570
Virologically Confirmed Population-Based Burden of Hospitalization Caused by Influenza A and B among Children in Hong Kong

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Background.We sought to determine the virologically confirmed hospitalization rates associated with influenza virus infection among Hong Kong children.

Methods.Patients <18 years of age who lived on Hong Kong Island (a separate island within Hong Kong) and were admitted to either of the only 2 public hospitals on the island for a febrile acute respiratory infection on 1 fixed day of the week in each hospital from October 2003 through September 2006 were prospectively recruited. These 2 hospitals together accounted for 72.5% of all general pediatric admissions in Hong Kong Island with a known population denominator. Nasopharyngeal aspirates were obtained from all recruited patients and were tested for influenza A and influenza B viruses by direct antigen detection and culture.

Results.All cases of influenza A during 2003–2004 were caused by H3N2 virus, whereas 85.7% of cases during 2004–2005 were due to H3N2 virus, and 93.5% during 2005–2006 were due to H1N1 virus. During 2004–2005, infants <1 year of age had the highest rate of hospitalization for influenza A (103.8 cases per 10,000 population), whereas children 1 year of age had the highest rate of hospitalization during the other 2 seasons (95.5 and 54.6 cases per 10,000 population during 2003–2004 and 2005–2006, respectively). A protection rate of 25%, presumably attributable to maternal antibodies, was seen in infants <1 year of age who were hospitalized during 2003–2004 with infection due to an H3N2 virus that had been in circulation. The hospitalization rates for influenza B were highest among children 2–4 years of age.

Conclusions.This population-based study of hospitalizations due to virologically confirmed influenza demonstrated a very high burden of disease among young children in Hong Kong. The morbidity varied with virus type, subtype, and antigenic variants.

Journal Article.  3955 words.  Illustrated.

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

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