Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics of Deaths Attributed to Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 in Vietnam

Background: In response to a pandemic, it is critical to identify those developing severe illness, i.e. high risk groups, to whom limited pharmaceutical interventions (drugs and vaccine) should be targeted. We describe epidemiological and clinical characteristics of confirmed fatal cases of pandemic influenza A/H1N1/09 reported in Vietnam from August 2009 through March 2010.

Methods: A descriptive study was conducted by reviewing reports of national communicable disease surveillance. All cases of pandemic influenza were referred to tertiary hospitals and laboratory confirmed using RT-PCR testing.

Results: A total of 58 fatal cases were primarily young adults (mean age 30 years), of which 35 (60%) were females. Twelve (21%) cases seek medical attention on the day of symptom onset. The mean time from symptom onset and from hospital admission to death was 10 and 6 days, respectively. Upon admission, all cases presented with influenza like symptoms including fever (86%), cough (62%), and sore throat (28%) whereas 12 (21%) cases had severe symptoms, such as difficult breathing. Forty-five (78%) cases had underlying disease or other conditions, such as pregnancy. The most frequently reported underlying diseases among females were chronic heart disease (13%), chronic lung diseases including asthma (9%), and diabetes (9%). In males, eight (36%) reported chronic heart disease and chronic kidney disease. Fourteen (40%) females were pregnant; eight of them (57%) reported at least one underlying disease, such as heart diseases, kidney failure, chronic lung diseases, and metabolic conditions.

Conclusions: Most of the deaths attributed to pandemic influenza A/H1N1/09 in Vietnam occurred in young adults, especially in patients with underlying medical conditions and pregnancy. In countries with limited resources like Vietnam available pharmaceutical interventions should be prioritized for these high risk groups.

Keywords: pandemic, influenza, death cases, descriptive epidemiology

For more information, email the presenter at: drthanhtinh@yahoo.com

Author (s): 

Tinh T. Phan1,2, L. Phan1,2, K. Nguyen1,2, N. Tran Minh2 1General Department of Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health, Vietnam 2Vietnam Field Epidemiology Training Program

Presenter (s): 
Dr. Tinh Phan
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