2009 H1N1 Took High Toll on Pregnant Women, Children
Studies in California and Argentina analyze impact on children and pregnant and postpartum women
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic took a high toll on pregnant or recently-pregnant women and on children, according to a pair of studies from California and Argentina published online Dec. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Janice K. Louie, M.D, of the California Department of Public Health in Richmond, and colleagues reviewed data on H1N1-infected women of reproductive age (94 pregnant women, 137 non-pregnant women, and 8 recently postpartum women) who were hospitalized or died from April to August of 2009. Eighteen pregnant women and four postpartum women required intensive care, while six pregnant and two postpartum women died. The maternal mortality ratio for H1N1 in California for the four months was 4.3 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Alarmingly, 38 percent of rapid antigen tests for H1N1 were falsely negative.
Romina Libster, M.D., of Fundación INFANT in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and colleagues compared hospital admission and death rates among 251 children in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area with H1N1 influenza and children with seasonal flu from prior years. Of the H1N1 children, 19 percent required intensive care, 17 percent were put on ventilators, and 5 percent died. Overall, the 2009 death rate was 1.1 per 100,000 children compared to 0.1 per 100,000 for the seasonal flu in 2007 and no deaths in 2008.
"2009 H1N1 influenza can cause severe illness and death in pregnant and postpartum women; regardless of the results of rapid antigen testing, prompt evaluation and antiviral treatment of influenza-like illness should be considered in such women," Louie and colleagues conclude.