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Respir Care. 2012 Oct;57(10):1586-93. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Clinical and epidemiological features of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza differ slightly according to seroprevalence status during the second wave in the general population in México.

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Clinical Research Center, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Nuevo León, México.



Clinical features of pandemic H1N1 have been derived from lab-confirmed, hospitalized, or critically ill subjects. This report describes the clinical features of H1N1 and their prevalence from non-confirmed subjects according to seroprevalence status in México. The objective was to determine the prevalence of these clinical features from non-confirmed cases of pandemic H1N1 and to compare them according to seroprevalence status in northern Monterrey, México, during 2009, and to identify the predictive signs and symptoms; there have been no prior serologic studies in México.


During November-December 2009, 2,222 volunteers, ages 6-99 years, were categorized into 3 symptomatic groups: influenza-like illness, respiratory illness, and non-respiratory illness. Antibodies against influenza A/H1N1/2009 were determined by a virus-free enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method. Demographics and clinical presentation were assessed through face-to-face questionnaire, and the association with seroprevalence status was determined and compared.


Overall seroprevalence was 39%. Of the seropositive subjects, 67% were symptomatic and 33% were asymptomatic. Seventy-one percent of seropositive symptomatic subjects reported respiratory illness, 17% reported non-respiratory symptoms, and 12% reported influenza-like illness. The most common symptoms were rhinorrhea/nasal congestion (93%) and headache (83%). No significant difference was found between the symptom profiles of the seropositive group, compared to the seronegative one, nor of the median duration of symptoms. The seropositive group had a significantly elevated proportion of influenza-like illness (12%), compared to the seronegative group (8%). The proportion of subjects who took days off and who sought medical attention was significantly higher in the seropositive group. No single symptom was associated as a predictor of seropositiveness.


One third of the seropositive subjects were asymptomatic, and few had an influenza-like illness. No difference was found in the symptom profiles of the seropositive and seronegative groups. No single symptom predicted seropositiveness. Large scale population studies are needed, especially in México, to characterize clinical syndromes.

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