Deakin University
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The epidemiology of the first wave of H1N1 influenza pandemic in Australia : a population-based study

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posted on 2012-11-01, 00:00 authored by Julie PascoJulie Pasco, G Nicholson, Sharon Brennan-OlsenSharon Brennan-Olsen, K Bennett, Amelia Dobbins, Eugene AthanEugene Athan
Objectives: Following the recent H1N1 influenza pandemic we were able to describe seropositivity in a repre-sentative sample of adults prior to the availability of a specific vaccine.

Methods: This cross-sectional serological study is set in the Barwon Statistical Division, Australia. Blood samples were collected from September 2009 through to May 2010, from 1184 individuals (569 men, 615 women; median age 61.7 years), randomly selected from electoral rolls. Serum was analysed for specific H1N1 immunity using a haemagglutina-tion inhibition test. A self-report provided information about symptoms, demographics and healthcare. Associations be-tween H1N1 infection, gender, households and occupation were determined using logistic regression, adjusting for age.

Results: Of 1184 individuals, 129 (58 men, 71 women) were seropositive. Gender-adjusted age-specific prevalence was: 8.3% 20-29 years, 13.5% 30-39, 10.4% 40-49, 6.5% 50-59, 9.7% 60-69, 10.3% 70-79, 18.8% 80+. Standardised preva-lence was 10.3% (95%CI 9.6-11.0). No associations were detected between seropositivity and gender (OR=0.82, 95%CI 0.57-1.19) or being a healthcare worker (OR=1.43, 95%CI 0.62-3.29). Smokers (OR=1.86, 95%CI 1.09-3.15) and those socioeconomically disadvantaged (OR=2.52, 95%CI 1.24-5.13) were at increased risk. Among 129 seropositive individu-als, 31 reported symptoms that were either mild (n = 13) or moderate (time off work, doctor visit, n = 18). For age <60, 39.6% of seropositive individuals reported symptoms, whereas the proportion was 13.2% for age 60+.

Conclusions: Following the pandemic, the proportion of seropositive adults was low, but significant subclinical infection was found. Social disadvantage increased the likelihood of infection. The low symptom rate for older ages may relate to pre-existing immunity.



Open public health journal




80 - 85


Bentham Open


Bussum, The Netherlands






This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

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C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Pasco et al.

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