Epidemiology and Infection



Estimating influenza-related hospitalization in the Netherlands


R. M. P. M. BALTUSSEN a1c1, A. REINDERS a2, M. J. W. SPRENGER a3, M. J. POSTMA a2, J. C. JAGER a2, A. J. H. A. AMENT a1 and R. M. LEIDL a4
a1 Department of Health, Organisation, Policy and Economics, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
a2 Centre of Public Health Forecasting, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands
a3 Department of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands
a4 Department of Health Economics, University of Ulm, Germany

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of influenza on hospitalization in the Netherlands. Two methods were applied to estimate this effect: (a) regression analysis and (b) comparison of hospitalization in epidemic years with non-epidemic years. Hospital discharge rates in 1984–93 have been considered. The study shows that, during the period studied, on average, almost 2700 people were hospitalized for influenza per annum, and that influenza was diagnosed as the main cause for hospitalization in only a fraction of these hospitalizations (326: 12%). From an economic perspective, these results imply that the cost-effectiveness of vaccination against influenza may be severely underestimated when looking only at changes achieved in the number of hospitalizations attributed to influenza.

(Accepted November 17 1997)


Correspondence:
c1 Author for correspondence: Department of Health, Organisation, Policy and Economics, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, the Netherlands.


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