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The 2009 influenza pandemic has introduced the new re-assorted influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus which recirculated during the 2010/11 influenza season. Before that season, it was possible to acquire protective immunity either by pandemic or seasonal influenza vaccination against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 or by natural infection. To obtain data on vaccination coverage and antibody levels in a reference population and to calculate whether or not the herd immunity threshold (HIT, calculated as 33% given an Rof 1.5) was reached at the beginning of the 2010/11 season we performed a seroprevalence study in November 2010 in Hamburg, Germany. Antibody titres were assessed applying a haemagglutination inhibition test. Vaccination coverage was very low: 14% for pandemic and 11% for seasonal 2010/11 vaccinations. Even in those with underlying risk factors, vaccination coverage was not much higher: 17% for both vaccines. Serological analysis revealed antibody titres of ≥1:10 in 135 of 352 (38%) and of ≥1:40 in 61 of 352 study participants (17%). Specific antibodies were measurable in 26% of those without history of vaccination or natural infection, indicating a high proportion of subclinical and mild influenza disease. Nevertheless, the HIT was not reached, leaving the majority of the population susceptible to influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and its potential complications.


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