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Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Nov;17(11):1993-2000. doi: 10.3201/eid1711.110649.

Deaths associated with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 among children, Japan, 2009-2010.

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Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


To clarify the cause of deaths associated with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 among children in Japan, we retrospectively studied 41 patients <20 years of age who had died of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 through March 31, 2010. Data were collected through interviews with attending physicians and chart reviews. Median age of patients was 59 months; one third had a preexisting condition. Cause of death was categorized as unexpected cardiopulmonary arrest for 15 patients, encephalopathy for 15, and respiratory failure for 6. Preexisting respiratory or neurologic disorders were more frequent in patients with respiratory failure and less frequent in patients with unexpected cardiopulmonary arrest. The leading causes of death among children with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in Japan were encephalopathy and unexpected cardiopulmonary arrest. Deaths associated with respiratory failure were infrequent and occurred primarily among children with preexisting conditions. Vaccine use and public education are necessary for reducing influenza-associated illness and death.

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