Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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We analysed and reported on a weekly basis clinical and epidemiological characteristics of patients hospitalised in the Netherlands for the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) using information from the national mandatory notification system. The notification criteria changed on 15 August 2009 from all possible, probable and confirmed cases to only laboratory-confirmed pandemic influenza hospitalisations and deaths. In the period of comprehensive case-based surveillance (until 15 August), 2% (35/1,622) of the patients with pandemic influenza were hospitalised. From 5 June to 31 December 2009, a total of 2,181 patients were hospitalised. Of these, 10% (219/2,181) were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and 53 died. Among non-ICU hospitalised patients, 56% (961/1,722) had an underlying medical condition compared with 70% (147/211) of the patients in ICU and 46 of the 51 fatal cases for whom this information was reported. Most common complications were dehydration among non-ICU hospitalised patients and acute respiratory distress syndrome among patients in ICU and patients who died. Children under the age of five years had the highest age-specific hospitalisation rate (62.7/100,000), but relatively few were admitted to an ICU (1.7/100,000). Characteristics and admission rates of hospitalised patients were comparable with reports from other countries and previous influenza seasons. The national notification system was well suited to provide weekly updates of relevant monitoring information on the severity of the pandemic for professionals, decision makers, the media and the public, and could be rapidly adapted to changing information requirements.


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