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Impact of the 2009 influenza pandemic on pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations in the United States.

Abstract

The 2009 influenza pandemic had a significant impact on the rate of pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations, with the magnitude of this effect varying between age groups and states, mirroring observed variations in influenza activity.

We found a significant increase in pneumococcal hospitalizations from late August to mid-December 2009, which corresponded to the timing of highest pandemic influenza activity. Individuals aged 5-19 years, who have a low baseline level of pneumococcal disease, experienced the largest relative increase in pneumococcal hospitalizations (ratio, 1.6 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.4-1.7]), whereas the largest absolute increase was observed among individuals aged 40-64 years. In contrast, there was no excess disease in the elderly. Geographical variation in the timing of excess pneumococcal hospitalizations matched geographical patterns for the fall pandemic influenza wave.

Using weekly age-, state-, and cause-specific hospitalizations from the US State Inpatient Databases of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2003-2009, we quantified the increase in pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalization rates above a seasonal baseline during the pandemic period.

Infection with influenza virus increases the risk for developing pneumococcal disease. The A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in autumn 2009 provided a unique opportunity to evaluate this relationship.

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