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Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2012 Sep;4(5):277-83. doi: 10.4168/aair.2012.4.5.277. Epub 2012 May 2.

Increased Prevalence of H1N1-Induced Severe Lower Respiratory Tract Diseases in Children With Atopic Sensitization.

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1
Department of Paediatrics, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Viral infection is the most common aggravating factor for childhood asthma. Asthma may be a risk factor for severe respiratory symptoms in children with lower respiratory tract infections of viral etiology. Influenza A infection enhances Th2-polarization to house dust mites during the acute phase and leads to lung dysfunction in a mouse model. However, there are no data on the relationship between atopic sensitization and H1N1 (Influenza A) infection in humans. To investigate whether atopic sensitization is associated with the severity of H1N1 pneumonia, we compared clinical features and the atopic sensitization rate between children with and without H1N1 infection.

METHODS:

Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions, we investigated H1N1 virus infection in 214 children who were hospitalized with high fever and respiratory symptoms from September 2009 to February 2010. We also performed immunoassays for total and specific IgEs to six common aeroallergens. Atopy was defined as positivity for more than one specific IgE. The clinical severity of pneumonia was evaluated based on intensive care unit admission, oxygen therapy, steroid therapy, and atelectasis.

RESULTS:

There were 70 H1N1-positive children, 42.9% of whom had pneumonia. Children with H1N1 infection were older and had a higher prevalence of atopic sensitization and pneumonia compared with H1N1-negative children. The rate of atelectasis was higher in children with H1N1 pneumonia than in children with non-H1N1 pneumonia. Among children with H1N1 viral infection, those with atopic sensitization had a higher prevalence of intensive care unit admission and oxygen therapy, and a longer duration of hospitalization than non-atopic children. There were no differences between atopic and non-atopic children without H1N1 viral infection.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of H1N1-induced severe lower respiratory tract diseases is higher in children with atopic sensitization.

KEYWORDS:

H1N1 virus; atopy; children; pneumonia; severity

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