Background: During the 2009 influenza A/H1N1v pandemic, children were identified as a specific "at risk" group. We conducted a multicentric study to describe pattern of influenza A/H1N1v infection among hospitalized children in Brussels, Belgium.Methods: From July 1, 2009, to January 31, 2010, we collected epidemiological and clinical data of all proven (positive H1N1v PCR) and probable (positive influenza A antigen or culture) pediatric cases of influenza A/H1N1v infections, hospitalized in four tertiary centers.Results: During the epidemic period, an excess of 18% of pediatric outpatients and emergency department visits was registered. 215 children were hospitalized with proven/probable influenza A/H1N1v infection. Median age was 31 months. 47% had ≥ 1 comorbid conditions. Febrile respiratory illness was the most common presentation. 36% presented with initial gastrointestinal symptoms and 10% with neurological manifestations. 34% had pneumonia. Only 24% of the patients received oseltamivir but 57% received antibiotics. 10% of children were admitted to PICU, seven of whom with ARDS. Case fatality-rate was 5/215 (2%), concerning only children suffering from chronic neurological disorders. Children over 2 years of age showed a higher propensity to be admitted to PICU (16% vs 1%, p = 0.002) and a higher mortality rate (4% vs 0%, p = 0.06). Infants less than 3 months old showed a milder course of infection, with few respiratory and neurological complications.Conclusion: Although influenza A/H1N1v infections were generally self-limited, pediatric burden of disease was significant. Compared to other countries experiencing different health care systems, our Belgian cohort was younger and received less frequently antiviral therapy; disease course and mortality were however similar.
- Pandemic A/H1N1v influenza