An ARI outbreak was recorded in San Luis Potosí during April and May 2009. The most characteristic feature observed at the beginning of this outbreak was an increase in severe pneumonia cases requiring hospitalization of young adult patients. The shows the epidemiologic curve of the weekly number of ARI cases reported to Servicios de Salud en el Estado de San Luis Potosí (state public health services) from January 2008 through May 2009 and the weekly number of ARI-related consultations provided in the ED at Hospital Central. In addition, the percentage of samples that were positive for influenza and RSV during each week at the Virology Laboratory UASLP is presented. Pneumonia patients included in this report were admitted during epidemiologic weeks 14 through 18 at a time that maximal pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus circulation was documented.
Figure Weekly number of acute respiratory infections (ARI) reported in the state of San Luis Potosí, Mexico (no. of cases × 100, light blue area); weekly number of ARI visits at the emergency department of Hospital Central “Dr. Ignacio (more ...)
From April 10 through May 11, 2009, a total of 70 patients >18 years of age were admitted to the Hospital Central with suspected LRTI. After review of clinical, radiologic, and laboratory data, suspected influenza virus–related pneumonia was diagnosed for 50 of those patients; other patients were determined to have cholangitis and ARDS (1 patient), congestive heart failure (2 patients), aspiration pneumonia (2 patients), asthma without evidence of pneumonia on chest radiograph (5 patients), and influenza-like syndrome without pneumonia (10 patients). Nine of the 20 excluded patients were tested for influenza infection, and results were negative for 8; samples from 1 of the patients found to have influenza-like illness without radiographic evidence of pneumonia were positive for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus.
The main demographic features of our group of 50 patients are summarized in . Only 1 patient had an underlying pulmonary disorder. Obesity was the most frequent underlying disorder and was the only underlying disorder in 17 patients; 6 patients had morbid obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40). The most frequent symptoms patients had at hospital admission were fever (100%), headache (96%), cough (94%), and myalgias (94%). The predominant radiologic pattern on chest radiograph was consolidation, with multilobar and unilobar consolidation in 39 and 11 patients, respectively. Twenty-one patients had ill-defined interstitial opacities. Three patients had evidence of unilateral pleural effusion that affected ≈10% of the hemithorax. HIV testing was performed for 45 patients; all results were negative. Evidence of a systemic inflammatory response and muscle involvement was observed commonly, manifested by elevated levels of C-reactive protein, creatine phosphokinase (CPK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST).
Demographic features of 50 adult patients admitted with acute pneumonia during the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 outbreak, San Luis Potosí, Mexico*
Thirty patients were treated in medical wards, 12 of whom met criteria for ALI, none had extrapulmonary involvement, and all were discharged to home. Two patients with ARDS were treated in the ER.
Eighteen patients were treated in the ICU (17 with ARDS and 1 with ALI). All patients with ARDS were mechanically ventilated. The median positive end expiratory pressure at admission was 16 cm H2O (range 14–20 cm) and media FiO2 was 80% (range 50%–100%); the mean Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II at admission were 9.44 (range 5–15) and 17 (range 8–32), respectively. Twelve patients had hemodynamic instability that required vasoconstrictors and 6 had arrhythmias, mainly supraventricular and ventricular extrasystoles. Acute renal failure developed in 7 patients (6 within 72 hours of admission); 6 of these 7 patients experienced hemodynamic instability, and 3 required hemodialysis. Nine patients with evidence of cardiac failure underwent transthoracic echocardiography. The mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 54.6%; in 2 patients, it was reduced at 40%. Nosocomial pneumonia developed in 8 patients in the ICU after a median of 9.5 days of mechanical ventilation.
Forty-five patients received antiviral treatment with oseltamivir. The time elapsed from onset of symptoms to the start of antiviral drug treatment ranged between 1 and 14 days (median 6 days). Four patients that did not receive antiviral drugs were discharged. The only patient who did not receive antiviral drugs and died was the first patient with pandemic (H1N1) 2009–associated pneumonia to be admitted to our hospital during this outbreak; he had severe pneumonia and ARDS and died in the ED.
All patients were treated with antimicrobial drugs. Levofloxacin or clarithromycin was included as part of the antimicrobial drug treatment of 48 (96%) patients; the 2 patients who did not receive 1 of these antimicrobial drugs recovered and were discharged to home. Sixteen patients received steroids as part of their treatment; steroid use was assessed by the attending physician. The median number of days from admission to start of steroid treatment was 2 days (range 0–20 days). The effect of steroid use on patient outcome is difficult to assess because this treatment was used more frequently in patients with more severe disease.
Postmortem open lung biopsies were performed on 5 patients and a complete necropsy was performed for 1. The pathologic findings were those of diffuse alveolar damage; additionally, some patients had hemophagocytosis and capillary and arteriolar thrombosis as well as enlargement of alveolar cells. One patient had acute bacterial pneumonia.
Respiratory samples from 45 patients were available for viral detection. Samples from 37 patients were tested at UASLP, while samples from 41 patients were tested at InDRE in Mexico City or the State Public Health Laboratory in San Luis Potosí using the real time RT-PCR protocol developed by CDC. Overall, influenza virus was detected in respiratory secretions of 15 (33.3%) of the 45 patients who had respiratory samples available for testing; pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus was detected for 10 patients, seasonal influenza A virus was detected for 4, and results of assays for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and seasonal influenza A viruses were positive for 1 patient. Subtyping of samples positive for seasonal influenza virus showed that 1 infection was caused by influenza A (H1N1) virus (this finding corresponded to the patient with positive results for both seasonal and pandemic [H1N1] 2009 virus; due to the potential for cross-reactivity, infection with pandemic [H1N1] 2009 virus only cannot be ruled out in this patient) and 1 by influenza A (H3N2); the other 3 samples were not subtypeable by our RT-PCR. In addition, RT-PCR was performed in lung tissue from 6 patients who died; the presence of influenza virus was detected in 3 of these patients (pandemic [H1N1] 2009 virus in 1 and unsubtypeable influenza virus in 2). Detection of influenza virus in respiratory samples from these deceased patients was either negative (in 2 patients) or not possible because no respiratory sample was collected before the patient’s death (1 patient).
The duration of symptoms at the time of sample collection for samples that tested positive for influenza virus at UASLP was significantly shorter (mean of 4.7 days) compared with those samples that tested negative (8.8 days; p = 0.02). Duration of symptoms at the time of sample collection was also demonstrated to be statistically significant for samples that tested positive with the use of CDC’s real time RT-PCR protocol (mean 5.7 days) compared with those that were negative by this method (mean 9.5 days; p = 0.006).
We compared the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infections and those that were negative on viral testing (). The clinical presentation of both groups of patients was similar.
Demographic, clinical, and laboratory features on admission of patients with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and nonconfirmed influenza pneumonia cases during the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 outbreak, San Luis Potosí, Mexico*
Sputum cultures obtained at time of admission were positive in 4 patients treated in medical wards; bacteria isolated included Staphylococcus aureus (2 patients) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (2 patients). For patients treated in the ICU all cultures performed on mini-BAL and BAL (1 patient) at admission were negative; however, nosocomial pneumonia developed in 8 patients; microorganisms isolated included Acinetobacter baumanii (5 patients), S. aureus (1 patient), Escherichia coli (1 patient) and Candida sp. (1 patient). BAL was performed for only 4 patients as part of evaluation of suspected nosocomial pneumonia. Six postmortem lung biopsy specimens were cultured; 1 showed growth of E. coli; the other 5 were negative.
Ten (20%) patients died; 8 were obese (BMI >30), and 4 of those were morbidly obese (BMI >40). Eight patients died in the ICU with a median length of stay of 8.5 days (range 2–14 days), and 2 patients with ARDS died in the ED within hours after arrival. Six patients died within the first 7 days following admission, and 4 died during the second week after admission. In 5 patients, the cause of death was multiorgan dysfunction (pulmonary, cardiovascular, and renal); 3 deaths were attributed to severe ARDS refractory to ventilator management protocols (12
); 1 was caused by mixed ARDS and shock refractory to vasoconstrictors; and 1 was caused by septicemia. The median length of stay for patients treated in the ICU was 13 days (range 2–60 days); for those treated on the medical wards, this figure was 5 days (range 2–12 days).
The median duration of symptoms at time of admission for patients who died was longer (7.5 days) than for those who survived (5 days, p = 0.025); duration of symptoms before admission for patients who died in the ER was similar to duration of symptoms for patients who died in the ICU. The mean SOFA and APACHE II scores on admission for patients treated in the ICU who survived were 7.5 (range 5–11) and 13 (range 8–18), respectively; in comparison, for patients who died the mean values of these scores were 12 (range 10–15) and 21 (range 15–32), respectively. On the other hand, patients who received antiviral drug therapy during the first 5 days after initiation of symptoms had a better outcome than those who did not (survival of 95% of patients vs. 70%, respectively; p = 0.037). However, sample size was not sufficient to perform an appropriate multivariate analysis to define the independent contribution of duration of illness, antiviral drug therapy, and other variables to patient outcome.