Medical Research: Serologic Surveys Reveal H1N1 Infection Much Higher Than Estimated in Young Populations

CIDRAP reports that British researchers published one of the first large serologic studies of pandemic H1N1 infection. Serology typically involves a blood test to detect the presence of antibodies against an infecting microorganism.

According to experts, serologic studies provides a sharper picture of the burden of disease than is available from flu-surveillance, and this helps public health planners better assess vaccination efforts.

KEY research findings were:

In regions with high H1N1 incidence, as many as one in three children under 15 years of age were infected with H1N1 in the first wave of infections.

A substantial proportion of older adults had preexisting immunity to H1N1, which may have resulted from prior exposure to “antigenically similar” flu viruses.

Editor’s Comment: These findings strongly underscore the risks of H1N1 to young populations;  they should remain a priority target group for vaccination, The findings suggest some upper and lower bounds on pre-existing immunity to H1N1 for seniors.  However, it is fair to say a significant proportion of seniors are at risk.

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CIDRAP: Serologic study finds H1N1 infections surged past official estimates
The Lancet: Incidence of 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 infection in England: a cross-sectional serological study

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  1. […] H1N1 (pH1N1), as has been widely documented, has had a greater burden on younger populations. In a normal flu season, 90% of deaths are in persons over age 65. With pH1N1 the percentages have […]