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1.  Risk factors for hospitalisation and poor outcome with pandemic A/H1N1 influenza: United Kingdom first wave (May–September 2009) 
Thorax  2010;65(7):645-651.
Background
During the first wave of pandemic H1N1 influenza in 2009, most cases outside North America occurred in the UK. The clinical characteristics of UK patients hospitalised with pandemic H1N1 infection and risk factors for severe outcome are described.
Methods
A case note-based investigation was performed of patients admitted with confirmed pandemic H1N1 infection.
Results
From 27 April to 30 September 2009, 631 cases from 55 hospitals were investigated. 13% were admitted to a high dependency or intensive care unit and 5% died; 36% were aged <16 years and 5% were aged ≥65 years. Non-white and pregnant patients were over-represented. 45% of patients had at least one underlying condition, mainly asthma, and 13% received antiviral drugs before admission. Of 349 with documented chest x-rays on admission, 29% had evidence of pneumonia, but bacterial co-infection was uncommon. Multivariate analyses showed that physician-recorded obesity on admission and pulmonary conditions other than asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were associated with a severe outcome, as were radiologically-confirmed pneumonia and a raised C-reactive protein (CRP) level (≥100 mg/l). 59% of all in-hospital deaths occurred in previously healthy people.
Conclusions
Pandemic H1N1 infection causes disease requiring hospitalisation of previously fit individuals as well as those with underlying conditions. An abnormal chest x-ray or a raised CRP level, especially in patients who are recorded as obese or who have pulmonary conditions other than asthma or COPD, indicate a potentially serious outcome. These findings support the use of pandemic vaccine in pregnant women, children <5 years of age and those with chronic lung disease.
doi:10.1136/thx.2010.135210
PMCID: PMC2921287  PMID: 20627925
Influenza; Human influenza A virus; H1N1 subtype; hospitalisation; mortality; critical care; clinical epidemiology; respiratory infection; viral infection
2.  Influenza related hospital admissions in children: evidence about the burden keeps growing but the route to policy change remains uncertain 
Commentary on the paper by Beard et al (see page 20)
doi:10.1136/adc.2005.079087
PMCID: PMC2083094  PMID: 16371372
hospitalisation; influenza
4.  Emergency (999) calls to the ambulance service that do not result in the patient being transported to hospital: an epidemiological study 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2002;19(5):449-452.
Methods: The first 500 consecutive non-transported patients from 1 March 2000 were identified from the ambulance service command and control data. Epidemiological and clinical data were then obtained from the patient report form completed by the attending ambulance crew and compared with the initial priority dispatch (AMPDS) code that determined the urgency of the ambulance response.
Results: Data were obtained for 498 patients. Twenty six per cent of these calls were assigned an AMPDS delta code (the most urgent category) at the time the call was received. Falls accounted for 34% of all non-transported calls. This group of patients were predominantly elderly people (over 70 years old) and the majority (89%) were identified as less urgent (coded AMPDS alpha or bravo) at telephone triage. The mean time that an ambulance was committed to each non-transported call was 34 minutes.
Conclusions: This study shows that falls in elderly people account for a significant proportion of non-transported 999 calls and are often assigned a low priority when the call is first received. There could be major gains if some of these patients could be triaged to an alternative response, both in terms of increasing the ability of the ambulance service to respond faster to clinically more urgent calls and improving the cost effectiveness of the health service. The AMPDS priority dispatch system has been shown to be sensitive but this study suggests that its specificity may be poor, resulting in rapid responses to relatively minor problems. More research is required to determine whether AMPDS prioritisation can reliably and safely identify 999 calls where an alternative to an emergency ambulance would be a more appropriate response.
doi:10.1136/emj.19.5.449
PMCID: PMC1725980  PMID: 12205005
5.  Family doctor advice and pneumococcal vaccine uptake 
doi:10.1136/jech.54.11.879a
PMCID: PMC1731582  PMID: 11203344
9.  Dynamics of Meningococcal Long-Term Carriage among University Students and Their Implications for Mass Vaccination 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(6):2311-2316.
In the 1997-98 academic year, we conducted a longitudinal study of meningococcal carriage and acquisition among first-year students at Nottingham University, Nottingham, United Kingdom. We examined the dynamics of long-term meningococcal carriage with detailed characterization of the isolates. Pharyngeal swabs were obtained from 2,453 first-year students at the start of the academic year (October), later on during the autumn term, and again in March. Swabs were immediately cultured on selective media, and meningococci were identified and serologically characterized. Nongroupable strains were genetically grouped using a PCR-based assay. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to determine the link between sequential isolates. Of the carriers initially identified in October, 44.1% (98 of 222) were still positive later on in the autumn (November or December); 57.1% of these remained persistent carriers at 6 months. Of the index carriers who lost carriage during the autumn, 16% were recolonized at 6 months. Of 344 index noncarriers followed up, 22.1% acquired carriage during the autumn term and another 13.7% acquired carriage by March. Overall, 43.9% (397 of 904) of the isolates were noncapsulated (serologically nongroupable); by PCR-based genogrouping, a quarter of these belonged to the capsular groups B and C. The ratio of capsulated to noncapsulated forms for group B and C strains was 2.9 and 0.95, respectively. Sequential isolates of persistent carriers revealed that individuals may carry the same or entirely different organisms at different times. We identified three strains that clearly switched their capsular expression on and off at different times in vivo. One student developed invasive meningococcal disease after carrying the same organism for over 7 weeks. The study revealed a high rate of turnover of meningococcal carriage among students. Noncapsulated organisms are capable of switching their capsular expression on and off (both ways) in the nasopharynx, and group C strains are more likely to be noncapsulated than group B strains. Carriage of a particular meningococcal strain does not necessarily protect against colonization or invasion by a homologous or heterologous strain.
PMCID: PMC86789  PMID: 10834994
10.  Effectiveness of ambulance paramedics versus ambulance technicians in managing out of hospital cardiac arrest. 
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of extended trained ambulance personnel (paramedics) for the management of out of hospital cardiac arrest. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of patients who suffered a cardiac arrest between 1 January 1992 and 31 July 1994, and who were transported to their local accident and emergency (A&E) department. Data were collected on basic demography, operational time intervals, and ambulance crew status. Further clinical data were collected, and outcome measures included status on arrival at A&E, status on leaving A&E (hospital admission), and status on leaving hospital. The data were analysed using univariate and multivariate techniques. RESULTS: Univariate analysis showed the likelihood of arriving in A&E with a return of spontaneous circulation was more than doubled among patients attended by a paramedic crew compared with those attended by technicians (relative risk = 2.48, 95% confidence interval 1.34 to 4.60). The likelihood of successful hospital admission was also significantly increased (RR = 1.92, 95% CI 1.13 to 3.27); however, beyond this point, further survival benefits appeared to be much smaller. Similar findings were revealed using multivariate analysis. Second level modelling revealed further possible differences between paramedic and technician crews according to type of incident. Patients successfully admitted to hospital who died before discharge remained severely disabled between admission and death. CONCLUSIONS: There are marked short term survival advantages after cardiac arrest associated with paramedic care, but these probably diminish rapidly over time.
PMCID: PMC1342900  PMID: 9193974
11.  Hidden impact of paramedic interventions. 
OBJECTIVE: To examine current patterns of deployment and use of emergency ambulance crews in Nottinghamshire, with particular reference to crew status (technician or paramedic), case mix, interventions performed, and operational times. METHODS: A retrospective survey of routinely collected computerised ambulance service despatch data, and patient treatment forms for 242 randomly selected emergency callouts in Nottinghamshire, during September 1994. Data were collected on patient demography, broad diagnostic group, crew status and operational times, and paramedic interventions performed. RESULTS: 170 of 242 callouts (70%) involved a paramedic crew; extended skills were used on 31 of these occasions (18%), predominantly for medical emergencies. Paramedic crews recorded significantly longer on-scene times (median time: 14.0 v 11.5 min, P = 0.04). An examination of the difference between paramedics who performed interventions and those who did not revealed that "intervening" paramedics recorded significantly longer onscene times (median time: 23 v 12 min, P < 0.001), turnaround times (median time: 28 v 18 min, P < 0.001), and total out-of-service times (median time 73 v 51 min, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The additional time taken by paramedics at the scene of an emergency incident relates to their performance of an intervention, rather than time spent assessing the patient to decide whether stabilisation or immediate evacuation would be most appropriate. Paramedic interventions were most often performed for medical emergencies. The performance of paramedic interventions also extended turnaround times and total out-of-service times.
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PMCID: PMC1342802  PMID: 8947792
13.  Influenza immunization; vaccine offer, request and uptake in high-risk patients during the 1991/2 season. 
Epidemiology and Infection  1993;111(2):347-355.
Current levels of influenza vaccine uptake in patients considered to be at high risk have been determined by means of a questionnaire survey. During March-April 1992, information was sought from 624 patients in Leicestershire, UK with either chronic cardiovascular or respiratory disease, or diabetes; questions related to current health status and the request, offer and receipt of influenza vaccine in the current and three previous seasons. Ninety-eight percent of all offers of immunization were made in the primary care setting, and vaccine was well tolerated as judged by the fact that 86% of vaccinees between 1988/9-1990/1 returned for immunization in the following year. However in the 1991/2 season the overall level of vaccine uptake was only about 41% which is at variance with the stated policies and practices of general practitioners. Opportunities were missed, in both hospitals and general practices, to publicise and offer immunization to individuals with vaccine indications. Future attempts to improve vaccine uptake should focus on increasing the role of hospital staff in influenza prevention, in addition to promoting better vaccine delivery through primary care.
PMCID: PMC2271385  PMID: 8405161
14.  Protective efficacy of BCG vaccine against leprosy in southern Malaŵi. 
Epidemiology and Infection  1993;111(1):21-25.
This paper describes a matched case-control study to determine the efficacy of BCG vaccine in preventing the occurrence of leprosy in southern Malaŵi, a previously unstudied area. The BCG immunization rate amongst 145 individuals with leprosy was 44.8%, compared to 62.5% in 290 matched controls. The protective efficacy of BCG vaccine against leprosy in this region was estimated to be 63.6%; smallpox immunization had no effect. These findings support the view that BCG vaccine should be considered as a control measure in areas where leprosy is endemic.
PMCID: PMC2271193  PMID: 8348929
16.  Influenza deaths in Leicestershire during the 1989-90 epidemic: implications for prevention. 
Epidemiology and Infection  1992;108(3):537-545.
There is an association between excess winter mortality and epidemics of influenza and it has been suggested that annual influenza vaccination should be offered to all over 65 years old as in the United States. This paper identifies the number of people dying from influenza in Leicestershire UK during the 1989-90 epidemic and the factors associated with a fatal outcome. The findings show that deaths attributed to influenza occur predominantly in very elderly people with underlying ill-health. The risk of influenzal death is greater in residential patients and increases substantially with the number of underlying medical conditions. The estimated death rates in vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups were not significantly different, but there were trends towards protection in both residential and non-residential groups. Influenza vaccine is not reaching the principal target groups and improved methods of influenza control are required.
PMCID: PMC2272214  PMID: 1601083

Results 1-17 (17)