Research Summary: Estimating the Disease Burden of 2009 Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) from Surveillance and Household Surveys in Greece



The aim of this study was to assess the disease burden of the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) in Greece.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Data on influenza-like illness (ILI), collected through cross-sectional nationwide telephone surveys of 1,000 households in Greece repeated for 25 consecutive weeks, were combined with data from H1N1 virologic surveillance to estimate the incidence and the clinical attack rate (CAR) of influenza A(H1N1). Alternative definitions of ILI (cough or sore throat and fever>38°C [ILI-38] or fever 37.1–38°C [ILI-37]) were used to estimate the number of symptomatic infections. The infection attack rate (IAR) was approximated using estimates from published studies on the frequency of fever in infected individuals. Data on H1N1 morbidity and mortality were used to estimate ICU admission and case fatality (CFR) rates. The epidemic peaked on week 48/2009 with approximately 750–1,500 new cases/100,000 population per week, depending on ILI-38 or ILI-37 case definition, respectively. By week 6/2010, 7.1%–15.6% of the population in Greece was estimated to be symptomatically infected with H1N1. Children 5–19 years represented the most affected population group (CAR:27%–54%), whereas individuals older than 64 years were the least affected (CAR:0.6%–2.2%). The IAR (95% CI) of influenza A(H1N1) was estimated to be 19.7% (13.3%, 26.1%). Per 1,000 symptomatic cases, based on ILI-38 case definition, 416 attended health services, 108 visited hospital emergency departments and 15 were admitted to hospitals. ICU admission rate and CFR were 37 and 17.5 per 100,000 symptomatic cases or 13.4 and 6.3 per 100,000 infections, respectively.


Influenza A(H1N1) infected one fifth and caused symptomatic infection in up to 15% of the Greek population. Although individuals older than 65 years were the least affected age group in terms of attack rate, they had 55 and 185 times higher risk of ICU admission and CFR, respectively.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 9-June-2011

Author(s): Sypsa V., Bonovas S., Tsiodras S., Baka A., Efstathiou P., Malliori M., Panagiotopoulos T., Nikolakopoulos I., Hatzakis A.


Leave a Reply