• Open Access

Pandemic H1N1 influenza-associated hospitalizations in children in Madrid, Spain


Teresa del Rosal, Pediatrics Department, Hospital Infanta Elena, Avenida Reyes Católicos 21, 28342 Valdemoro, Madrid, Spain. E-mail: teredelrosal@yahoo.es


Please cite this paper as: del Rosal et al. (2011) Pandemic H1N1 influenza-associated hospitalizations in children in Madrid, Spain. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 5(6), e544–e551.

Objective  To describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of children hospitalized with 2009 pandemic influenza (pH1N1) in Madrid, Spain.

Patients/Methods  We included patients less than 14 years of age admitted to one of 18 hospitals in Madrid, Spain, between May 1 and November 30, 2009 and diagnosed with pH1N1 by polymerase chain reaction. A retrospective chart review was conducted and data were compared by age, presence of high-risk medical conditions, and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission.

Results  A total of 517 pH1N1 cases were included for final analysis. One hundred and forty-two patients (27·5%) had predisposing underlying illnesses, with immunosuppression (36 children, 7%) and moderate persistent asthma (34, 6·6%) being the most common ones. Patients with underlying medical conditions had longer hospital stays [median 5, interquartile range (IQR) 3–8 days, versus median 4, IQR 3–6, < 0·001] and required intensive care (20·4% versus 5·9%, < 0·001) and mechanical ventilation more frequently than previously healthy children. Globally, intensive care was required for 51 patients (10%) and invasive mechanical ventilation for 12 (2%). Pediatric intensive care unit admission was significantly associated with abnormal initial chest X-ray [Odds Ratio (OR) 3·5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·5–8·5], underlying neurological condition (OR 3·1, CI 1·2–7·5) and immunosuppression (OR 2·9, 1·2–6·8). Five patients (0·9%) died; two with severe neurological disease, two with leukemia, and one with a malignant solid tumor.

Conclusions  Children with underlying medical conditions experienced more severe pH1N1 disease. Risk factors for admission to the PICU included underlying neurological conditions, immunosuppression and abnormal initial chest X-ray.