• Influenza in hospitalized children in Ireland in the pandemic period and the 2010/2011 season: risk factors for paediatric intensive-care-unit admission.

      Rebolledo, J; Igoe, D; O'Donnell, J; Domegan, L; Boland, M; Freyne, B; McNamara, A; Molloy, E; Callaghan, M; Ryan, A; et al. (2013-11-11)
      SUMMARY Influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality in children. This study's objectives were to describe influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 during the pandemic, to compare it with circulating influenza in 2010/2011, and to identify risk factors for severe influenza defined as requiring admission to a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Children hospitalized with influenza during the pandemic were older, and more likely to have received antiviral therapy than children hospitalized during the 2010/2011 season. In 2010/2011, only one child admitted to a PICU with underlying medical conditions had been vaccinated. The risk of severe illness in the pandemic was higher in females and those with underlying conditions. In 2010/2011, infection with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 compared to other influenza viruses was a significant risk factor for severe disease. An incremental relationship was found between the number of underlying conditions and PICU admission. These findings highlight the importance of improving low vaccination uptake and increasing the use of antivirals in vulnerable children.
    • International outbreak investigation of Salmonella Heidelberg associated with in-flight catering.

      Rebolledo, J; Garvey, P; Ryan, A; O'Donnell, J; Cormican, M; Jackson, S; Cloak, F; Cullen, L; Swaan, C M; Schimmer, B; et al. (2013-07-26)
      SUMMARY Rapid and wide dispersal of passengers after flights makes investigation of flight-related outbreaks challenging. An outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg was identified in a group of Irish travellers returning from Tanzania. Additional international cases sharing the same flight were identified. Our aim was to determine the source and potential vehicles of infection. Case-finding utilized information exchange using experts' communication networks and national surveillance systems. Demographic, clinical and food history information was collected. Twenty-five additional cases were identified from Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, USA and Canada. We conducted a case-control study which indicated a significant association between illness and consumption of milk tart (OR 10·2) and an egg dish (OR 6) served on-board the flight. No food consumed before the flight was associated with illness. Cases from countries other than Ireland provided supplementary information that facilitated the identification of likely vehicles of infection. Timely, committed international collaboration is vital in such investigations.
    • Low and decreasing vaccine effectiveness against influenza A(H3) in 2011/12 among vaccination target groups in Europe: results from the I-MOVE multicentre case-control study.

      Kissling, E; Valenciano, M; Larrauri, A; Oroszi, B; Cohen, J M; Nunes, B; Pitigoi, D; Rizzo, C; Rebolledo, J; Paradowska-Stankiewicz, I; et al. (2013)
      Within the Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe (I-MOVE) project we conducted a multicentre case–control study in eight European Union (EU) Member States to estimate the 2011/12 influenza vaccine effectiveness against medically attended influenza-like illness (ILI) laboratory-confirmed as influenza A(H3) among the vaccination target groups. Practitioners systematically selected ILI / acute respiratory infection patients to swab within seven days of symptom onset. We restricted the study population to those meeting the EU ILI case definition and compared influenza A(H3) positive to influenza laboratory-negative patients. We used logistic regression with study site as fixed effect and calculated adjusted influenza vaccine effectiveness (IVE), controlling for potential confounders (age group, sex, month of symptom onset, chronic diseases and related hospitalisations, number of practitioner visits in the previous year). Adjusted IVE was 25% (95% confidence intervals (CI): -6 to 47) among all ages (n=1,014), 63% (95% CI: 26 to 82) in adults aged between 15 and 59 years and 15% (95% CI: -33 to 46) among those aged 60 years and above. Adjusted IVE was 38% (95%CI: -8 to 65) in the early influenza season (up to week 6 of 2012) and -1% (95% CI: -60 to 37) in the late phase. The results suggested a low adjusted IVE in 2011/12. The lower IVE in the late season could be due to virus changes through the season or waning immunity. Virological surveillance should be enhanced to quantify change over time and understand its relation with duration of immunological protection. Seasonal influenza vaccines should be improved to achieve acceptable levels of protection.