a1 H1N1 Task Force, Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infectious Diseases Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
a2 Emerging Issues, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Toronto, ON, Canada
This article describes the epidemiology of pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 influenza in all Canadian pregnant women admitted to hospital, and compares it with historical inter-pandemic influenza activity. We used weekly hospitalization and death counts of laboratory-confirmed pandemic A(H1N1) influenza cases reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada's (PHAC) 2009–2010 national pandemic influenza surveillance programme. Pregnant women infected and admitted with the pandemic strain were described and compared with: (1) confirmed admissions of all women of reproductive age; (2) all admitted cases reported to PHAC; and (3) to a historical average of inter-pandemic seasonal influenza admissions, and pneumonia and influenza (P&I) admissions for pregnant women. During the pandemic, 263 pregnant women with confirmed infections were admitted; four died in their third trimester. The median age for admitted pregnant cases was 27·5 years, which is consistent with the median age of the 3-year historical inter-pandemic pregnant comparison group. Aboriginal women appeared to be overrepresented but ethnicity was unavailable for 15·2% of all pregnant cases. Overall admission volumes were higher than those for seasonal influenza in the historical comparison group but were lower than those for P&I admissions. Despite increased admission volumes, severe outcomes in pregnant women were proportionally fewer than in all cases admitted for influenza A(H1N1) infection during the pandemic.
(Accepted August 10 2011)
(Online publication September 16 2011)