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1.  Prognosis of hospitalized patients with 2009 H1N1 influenza in Spain: influence of neuraminidase inhibitors 
The H1N1 influenza pandemic strain has been associated with a poor prognosis in hospitalized patients. The present report evaluates the factors influencing prognosis.
A total of 813 patients hospitalized with H1N1 influenza in 36 hospitals (nationwide) in Spain were analysed. Detailed histories of variables preceding hospital admission were obtained by interview, validating data on medications and vaccine with their attending physicians. Data on treatment and complications during hospital stay were recorded. As definition of poor outcome, the endpoints of death and admission to intensive care were combined; and as a further outcome, length of stay was used.
The mean age was 38.5 years (SD 22.8 years). There were 10 deaths and 79 admissions to intensive care (combined, 88). The use of neuraminidase inhibitors was reported by 495 patients (60.9%). The variables significantly associated with a poor outcome were diabetes (OR = 2.21, 95% CI = 1.21–4.02), corticosteroid therapy (OR = 3.37, 95% CI = 1.39–8.20) and use of histamine-2 receptor antagonists (OR = 2.68, 95% CI = 1.14–6.36), while the use of neuraminidase inhibitors (OR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.34–0.94) was protective. Neuraminidase inhibitors within the first 2 days after the influenza onset reduced hospital stay by a mean of 1.9 days (95% CI = 4.7–6.6).
The use of neuraminidase inhibitors decreases the length of hospital stay and admission to intensive care and/or death.
PMCID: PMC3370819  PMID: 22467633
prevention; adverse outcomes; length of stay; flu; pandemic
2.  Social factors related to the clinical severity of influenza cases in Spain during the A (H1N1) 2009 virus pandemic 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:118.
During the 2009 influenza pandemic, a change in the type of patients most often affected by influenza was observed. The objective of this study was to assess the role of individual and social determinants in hospitalizations due to influenza A (H1N1) 2009 infection.
We studied hospitalized patients (cases) and outpatients (controls) with confirmed influenza A (H1N1) 2009 infection. A standardized questionnaire was used to collect data. Variables that might be related to the hospitalization of influenza cases were compared by estimation of the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) and the variables entered into binomial logistic regression models.
Hospitalization due to pandemic A (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus infections was associated with non-Caucasian ethnicity (OR: 2.18, 95% CI 1.17 − 4.08), overcrowding (OR: 2.84, 95% CI 1.20 − 6.72), comorbidity and the lack of previous preventive information (OR: 2.69, 95% CI: 1.50 − 4.83). Secondary or higher education was associated with a lower risk of hospitalization (OR 0.56, 95% CI: 0.36 − 0.87)
In addition to individual factors such as comorbidity, other factors such as educational level, ethnicity or overcrowding were associated with hospitalization due to A (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus infections.
PMCID: PMC3572414  PMID: 23391376
Influenza A (H1N1) 2009; Pandemic; Hospitalization; Social factors
3.  Immunogenicity and Acceptance of Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine in a Cohort of Chronic Hepatitis C Patients Receiving Pegylated-Interferon Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48610.
Background & Aims
Individuals at risk of (H1N1) influenza A infection are recommended to receive vaccination. Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients receiving treatment might be at a higher risk of respiratory bacterial infections after influenza infection. However, there are no observational studies evaluating the immunogenicity, tolerance and acceptance of 2009 influenza A vaccine in CHC patients.
We evaluated the immunogenicity of influenza A vaccine (Pandemrix®) by using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers method in a well defined cohort of CHC patients receiving or not receiving pegylated-interferon and ribavirin, and compared it with healthy subjects (controls). A group of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) under immunosuppression, thought to have a lower immune response to seasonal influenza vaccine, were also included as a negative control group. In addition, tolerance to injection site reactions and acceptance was assessed by a validated questionnaire (Vaccinees' perception of injection-VAPI-questionnaire).
Of 114 subjects invited to participate, 68% accepted and, after exclusions, 72 were included. Post-vaccination geometric mean titers and seroprotection/seroconversion rates were optimal in CHC patients with ongoing treatment (n = 15; 232, CI95% 46–1166; 93%; 93%), without treatment (n = 10; 226, CI95% 69–743: 100%; 100%) and controls (n = 15;168, CI95% 42–680; 93%; 86%) with no differences between groups (P = 0.8). In contrast, IBD patients had a significantly lower immunogenic response (n = 27; 60, CI95% 42–680;66%;66%; P = 0.006). All the groups showed a satisfactory tolerance although CHC patients with ongoing treatment showed more local discomfort after vaccine injection.
There appeared to be no differences between CHC patients and healthy controls in serological response and acceptance of (H1N1) influenza vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3493585  PMID: 23144908
4.  Sociodemographic Factors and Clinical Conditions Associated to Hospitalization in Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Virus Infected Patients in Spain, 2009–2010 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33139.
The emergence and pandemic spread of a new strain of influenza A (H1N1) virus in 2009 resulted in a serious alarm in clinical and public health services all over the world. One distinguishing feature of this new influenza pandemic was the different profile of hospitalized patients compared to those from traditional seasonal influenza infections. Our goal was to analyze sociodemographic and clinical factors associated to hospitalization following infection by influenza A(H1N1) virus. We report the results of a Spanish nationwide study with laboratory confirmed infection by the new pandemic virus in a case-control design based on hospitalized patients. The main risk factors for hospitalization of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 were determined to be obesity (BMI≥40, with an odds-ratio [OR] 14.27), hematological neoplasia (OR 10.71), chronic heart disease, COPD (OR 5.16) and neurological disease, among the clinical conditions, whereas low education level and some ethnic backgrounds (Gypsies and Amerinds) were the sociodemographic variables found associated to hospitalization. The presence of any clinical condition of moderate risk almost triples the risk of hospitalization (OR 2.88) and high risk conditions raise this value markedly (OR 6.43). The risk of hospitalization increased proportionally when for two (OR 2.08) or for three or more (OR 4.86) risk factors were simultaneously present in the same patient. These findings should be considered when a new influenza virus appears in the human population.
PMCID: PMC3296770  PMID: 22412995
5.  Direct association between pharyngeal viral secretion and host cytokine response in severe pandemic influenza 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:232.
Severe disease caused by 2009 pandemic influenza A/H1N1virus is characterized by the presence of hypercytokinemia. The origin of the exacerbated cytokine response is unclear. As observed previously, uncontrolled influenza virus replication could strongly influence cytokine production. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between host cytokine responses and viral levels in pandemic influenza critically ill patients.
Twenty three patients admitted to the ICU with primary viral pneumonia were included in this study. A quantitative PCR based method targeting the M1 influenza gene was developed to quantify pharyngeal viral load. In addition, by using a multiplex based assay, we systematically evaluated host cytokine responses to the viral infection at admission to the ICU. Correlation studies between cytokine levels and viral load were done by calculating the Spearman correlation coefficient.
Fifteen patients needed of intubation and ventilation, while eight did not need of mechanical ventilation during ICU hospitalization. Viral load in pharyngeal swabs was 300 fold higher in the group of patients with the worst respiratory condition at admission to the ICU. Pharyngeal viral load directly correlated with plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-12p70, IFN-γ, the chemotactic factors MIP-1β, GM-CSF, the angiogenic mediator VEGF and also of the immuno-modulatory cytokine IL-1ra (p < 0.05). Correlation studies demonstrated also the existence of a significant positive association between the levels of these mediators, evidencing that they are simultaneously regulated in response to the virus.
Severe respiratory disease caused by the 2009 pandemic influenza virus is characterized by the existence of a direct association between viral replication and host cytokine response, revealing a potential pathogenic link with the severe disease caused by other influenza subtypes such as H5N1.
PMCID: PMC3175217  PMID: 21880131
cytokines; critical; influenza; patients; virus
6.  Host adaptive immunity deficiency in severe pandemic influenza 
Critical Care  2010;14(5):R167.
Pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza causes severe lower respiratory complications in rare cases. The association between host immune responses and clinical outcome in severe cases is unknown.
We utilized gene expression, cytokine profiles and generation of antibody responses following hospitalization in 19 critically ill patients with primary pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza pneumonia for identifying host immune responses associated with clinical outcome. Ingenuity pathway analysis 8.5 (IPA) (Ingenuity Systems, Redwood City, CA) was used to select, annotate and visualize genes by function and pathway (gene ontology). IPA analysis identified those canonical pathways differentially expressed (P < 0.05) between comparison groups. Hierarchical clustering of those genes differentially expressed between groups by IPA analysis was performed using BRB-Array Tools v.3.8.1.
The majority of patients were characterized by the presence of comorbidities and the absence of immunosuppressive conditions. pH1N1 specific antibody production was observed around day 9 from disease onset and defined an early period of innate immune response and a late period of adaptive immune response to the virus. The most severe patients (n = 12) showed persistence of viral secretion. Seven of the most severe patients died. During the late phase, the most severe patient group had impaired expression of a number of genes participating in adaptive immune responses when compared to less severe patients. These genes were involved in antigen presentation, B-cell development, T-helper cell differentiation, CD28, granzyme B signaling, apoptosis and protein ubiquitination. Patients with the poorest outcomes were characterized by proinflammatory hypercytokinemia, along with elevated levels of immunosuppressory cytokines (interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-1ra) in serum.
Our findings suggest an impaired development of adaptive immunity in the most severe cases of pandemic influenza, leading to an unremitting cycle of viral replication and innate cytokine-chemokine release. Interruption of this deleterious cycle may improve disease outcome.
PMCID: PMC3219262  PMID: 20840779
7.  Inflammatory Responses in Blood Samples of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients with Pulmonary Infections 
We analyzed the characteristics of the inflammatory response occurring in blood during pulmonary infections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. A prospective study of consecutive hospital admissions of HIV-infected patients with new-onset radiologic pulmonary infiltrates was carried out in a tertiary university hospital from April 1998 to May 2001. Plasma cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP), interleukin 1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) levels were determined at the time of admission and 4, 5, and 6 days later. Patients were included in a protocol addressed to study etiology and outcome of disease. A total of 249 episodes of infection were included, with the main diagnoses being bacterial pneumonia (BP) (118 episodes), Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) (41 episodes), and mycobacteriosis (36 episodes). For these three patient groups, at the time of admission the median CRP and cytokine levels were as follows: CRP, 10.2, 3.8 and 5 mg/dl, respectively (P = 0.0001); IL-8, 19, 3, and 2.9 pg/ml (P = 0.045); and TNF-α, 46.4, 44, and 75 pg/ml, respectively (P = 0.029). There were no significant differences in levels of IL-1β, IL-6, or IL-10 among the patient groups. A total of 23 patients died. At the time of admission, HIV-infected patients with BP had higher plasma CRP and IL-8 levels than did PCP and mycobacteriosis patients. TNF-α levels were higher in patients with mycobacteriosis. An elevated IL-8 level (>61 pg/ml) at the time of admission was an independent factor associated with higher mortality (odds ratio, 12; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 235.5).
PMCID: PMC404570  PMID: 15138189

Results 1-7 (7)