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J Infect. 2010 Apr;60(4):257-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

2009 H1N1 influenza infection in cancer patients and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.

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  • 1Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA. redelmansidi@hotmail.com



Although usually mild, 2009 H1N1 Influenza has caused up to 6000 deaths in the US. To determine outcome in patients with cancer and/or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), we reviewed our recent experience at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).


During the initial NYC outbreak (May 19-June 30, 2009), all respiratory samples at MSKCC were tested for 2009 H1N1 influenza by DFA, culture, and RT-PCR. Medical records were reviewed for all cases.


During the 6-week period, 45(11%) of 394 tested patients were diagnosed with 2009 H1N1 Influenza. These included 29(17%) of 167 patients with hematologic conditions compared to 16(7%) of 226 with solid tumors (P < 0.01). 21(22%) of 96 tested HSCT recipients were positive. Cough (93%) and fever (91%) were common. Of 29 patients who were radiographically assessed, 8(27%) had lower airway disease. 17(37%) were hospitalized. None required mechanical ventilation. No deaths were attributed to influenza. All treated patients tolerated antiviral medication.


2009 H1N1 Influenza caused mild symptoms in most patients with cancer and/or HSCT. None died or required mechanical ventilation. Immunosuppression from cancer or its treatment including HSCT may not be a substantial risk for poor outcome, however further studies are needed to validate our results.

Copyright 2010 The British Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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