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J Infect Dis. 2000 Mar;181(3):831-7.

The impact of influenza epidemics on hospitalizations.

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Influenza Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


The traditional method for assessing the severity of influenza seasons is to estimate the associated increase (i.e., excess) in pneumonia and influenza (P&I) mortality. In this study, excess P&I hospitalizations were estimated from National Hospital Discharge Survey Data from 26 influenza seasons (1970-1995). The average seasonal rate of excess P&I hospitalization was 49 (range, 8-102) /100,000 persons, but average rates were twice as high during A(H3N2) influenza seasons as during A(H1N1)/B seasons. Persons aged <65 years had 57% of all influenza-related hospitalizations; however, the average seasonal risk for influenza-related P&I hospitalizations was much higher in the elderly than in persons aged <65 years. The 26 pairs of excess P&I hospitalization and mortality rates were linearly correlated. During the A(H3N2) influenza seasons after the 1968 pandemic, excess P&I hospitalizations declined among persons aged <65 years but not among the elderly. This suggests that influenza-related hospitalizations will increase disproportionately among younger persons in future pandemics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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