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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2010 Jun;34(3):228-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2010.00518.x.

A lower than expected adult Victorian community attack rate for pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

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Victorian Public Health Training Scheme, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. [corrected]

Erratum in

  • Aust N Z J Public Health. 2010 Aug;34(4):426.



To determine the community seropositivity of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza in order to estimate immunity and the community attack rate.


Selected clusters of participants (n=706) in the 'Victorian Health Monitor' (VHM), from whom blood samples were taken between August and October 2009, were tested opportunistically for antibodies to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus. A titre of > or = 1:40 was chosen as the cut-off for recording seropositivity. The proportion (95% CI) of seropositive participants, aged 18 to <65 years of age, were computed for groups of census collection districts (CDs) across metropolitan Melbourne.


The observed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 seropositivity rates for all CDs tested in metropolitan Melbourne was 16.0% (95% CI:12.9-19.1%); in northern Melbourne subset was 14.4% (95% CI:12.4-16.3%); and in eastern subset was 16.2% (95% CI:9.7-22.6%). The pre-pandemic (H1N1) 2009 positivity rate was estimated at 6%.


Given this study's estimate of 16.0% seropositivity in adults in metropolitan Melbourne, and given the WHO laboratory's estimate of 6% pre-pandemic positivity, the estimated adult community attack rate was 10% for metropolitan Melbourne.


This community attack rate is lower than anticipated and suggests that levels of immunity to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 might be lower than anticipated. Although limited by a low response rate of 34%, this study suggests low adult seropositivity, which may be useful for public health professionals when encouraging the community to get vaccinated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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