Increased H1N1 infection rate in children with asthma

Kirsten M. Kloepfer, Jaime P. Olenec, Wai Ming Lee, Guiyan Liu, Rose F. Vrtis, Kathy A. Roberg, Michael D. Evans, Ronald E. Gangnon, Robert F. Lemanske, James E. Gern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Rationale: The 2009 H1N1 flu appeared to cause more severe cold symptoms during the 2009-2010 flu season. Objectives: We evaluated H1N1 infections during peak viral season in children with and without asthma to determine whether the H1N1 infectivity rate and illness severity were greater in subjects with asthma. Methods: One hundred and eighty children, 4-12 years of age, provided eight consecutive weekly nasal mucus samples from September 5 through October 24, 2009, and scored cold and asthma symptoms daily. Viral diagnostics were performed for all nasal samples. Measurements and Main Results: One hundred and sixty-one children (95 with asthma, 66 without asthma) completed at least 6 of the 8 nasal samples. The incidence of H1N1 infection was significantly higher in children with asthma (41%) than in children without asthma (24%; odds ratio, 4; 95% confidence interval, 1.8-9; P , 0.001), but rates ofhumanrhinovirus infection(90%each)andother viral infections (47 vs. 41%) were similar. In children with asthma, there was a nonsignificant trend for increased loss of asthma control during H1N1 infections compared with human rhinovirus infections (38vs.21%;oddsratio, 2.6;95%confidenceinterval, 0.9-7.2; P < 0.07). Conclusions: Duringpeak2009H1N1fluseason, children with asthma were infected almost twice as often with H1N1 compared with other respiratory viruses. H1N1 infection also caused increased severity of cold symptoms compared with other viral infections. Given the increased susceptibility of children with asthma to infection, these findings reinforce the need for yearly influenza vaccination to prevent infection, and raise new questions about the mechanism for enhanced susceptibility to influenza infection in asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1279
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Influenza
  • Viral infection


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