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This paper describes the epidemiology of fatal pandemic influenza A(H1N1) cases in the United Kingdom (UK) since April 2009 and in particular risk factors associated with death. A fatal case was defined as a UK resident who died between 27 April 2009 and 12 March 2010, in whom pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infection was laboratory-confirmed or recorded on the death certificate. Case fatality ratios (CFR) were calculated using an estimated cumulative number of clinical cases as the denominator. The relative risk of death was estimated by comparing the population mortality rate in each risk group, with those not in a risk group. Across the UK, 440 fatal cases were identified. In England, fatal cases were mainly seen in young adults (median age 43 years, 85% under 65 years), unlike for seasonal influenza. The majority (77%) of cases for whom data were available (n=308) had underlying risk factors for severe disease. The CFR in those aged 65 years or over was nine per 1,000 clinical cases (range 3-26) compared to 0.4 (range 0.2 to 0.9) for those aged six months to 64 years. In the age group between six month and 64 years, the relative risk for fatal illness for those in a risk group was 18. The population attributable fractions in this age group were highest for chronic neurological disease (24%), immunosuppression (16%) and respiratory disease (15%). The results highlight the importance of early targeted effective intervention programmes. .


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