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Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 1;52 Suppl 1:S83-9. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciq013.

Timely assessment of the severity of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

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  • 1Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


During the 2009 influenza pandemic, weekly mortality data were analyzed to estimate excess mortality above a seasonally adjusted baseline modeled from prior years' data. Between the 1962-1963 and 2008-2009 seasons, among persons ≥ 25 years old, excess mortality had been substantially higher during influenza A(H3N2)-dominant years than during A(H1N1)-dominant years. Among persons ≥ 15 years of age, excess mortality was higher in the 1968-1969 influenza pandemic season than during any other season. During the 2009-2010 pandemic, among all age groups <65 years old, excess mortality increased earlier than during any of the previous 47 seasons, eventually exceeding mortality in any prior non-pandemic season. In the ≥ 65-year-old age group, excess mortality remained relatively low, at rates typical of seasonal influenza A(H1N1) seasons. The model provided a timely assessment of severity during the 2009-2010 influenza pandemic, showing that, compared with prior seasons, mortality was relatively high among persons <65 years old and relatively low among those ≥ 65 years old.

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