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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 7;5(9):e12562. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012562.

Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 antibodies in residents of New South Wales, Australia, after the first pandemic wave in the 2009 southern hemisphere winter.

Author information

1
Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. lyn.gilbert@sydney.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The first wave of pandemic influenza A(H1N1)2009 (pH1N1) reached New South Wales (NSW), Australia in May 2009, and led to high rates of influenza-related hospital admission of infants and young to middle-aged adults, but no increase in influenza-related or all-cause mortality.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

To assess the population rate of pH1N1 infection in NSW residents, pH1N1-specific haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody prevalence was measured in specimens collected opportunistically before (2007-2008; 474 specimens) and after (August-September 2009; 1247 specimens) the 2009 winter, and before the introduction of the pH1N1 monovalent vaccine. Age- and geographically-weighted population changes in seroprevalence were calculated. HI antibodies against four recent seasonal influenza A viruses were measured to assess cross-reactions. Pre- and post-pandemic pH1N1 seroprevalences were 12.8%, and 28.4%, respectively, with an estimated overall infection rate of 15.6%. pH1N1 antibody prevalence increased significantly - 20.6% overall - in people born since 1944 (26.9% in those born between 1975 and 1997) but not in those born in or before 1944. People born before 1925 had a significantly higher pH1N1 seroprevalence than any other age-group, and against any seasonal influenza A virus. Sydney residents had a significantly greater change in prevalence of antibodies against pH1N1 than other NSW residents (19.3% vs 9.6%).

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Based on increases in the pH1N1 antibody prevalence before and after the first pandemic wave, 16% of NSW residents were infected by pH1N1 in 2009; the highest infection rates (27%) were among adolescents and young adults. Past exposure to the antigenically similar influenza A/H1N1(1918) is the likely basis for a very high prevalence (49%) of prepandemic cross-reacting pH1N1 antibody and sparing from pH1N1 infection among people over 85 years. Unless pre-season vaccine uptake is high, there are likely to be at least moderate rates including some life-threatening cases of pH1N1 infection among young people during subsequent winters.

PMID:
20830210
PMCID:
PMC2935357
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0012562
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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