Morbidity of pandemic H1N1 influenza in children with cancer

Désirée Caselli, Francesca Carraro, Elio Castagnola, Ottavio Ziino, Stefano Frenos, Giuseppe Maria Milano, Susanna Livadiotti, Simone Cesaro, Nicoletta Marra, Giulio Zanazzo, Cristina Meazza, Monica Cellini, Maurizio Aricò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. To define the mortality and the current impact of the H1N1 pandemic in pediatric hematology-oncology centers, we performed a specific survey. Procedure. Pharyngeal swabs from patients with fevers of unknown origin, flu-like symptoms or bronchopneumonia were screened for H1N1 using PCR. Results. Sixty-two patients with documented H1N1 infection were reported: 16 had recently stopped therapy, 2 were at the diagnosis stage, and 44 were receiving therapy. The clinical course was severe (requiring ICU admission) in only 1 patient, moderate (requiring hospital admission) in 38, and mild in the remaining 23 (37%), treated as outpatients. While none of the patients died of H1N1-related complications, two patients died of progressive cancer; in all of the remaining cases, symptoms resolved within 11 days. The clinical course was complicated by respiratory distress or bronchopneumonia in 10 cases. Oseltamivir was given to 82% of patients. Chemotherapy was temporarily withdrawn in 54% of cases for a median time of 21 days (range, 4-43 days). Conclusion. H1N1 infection in children with cancer was not reported as the cause of death in any case but resulted in reduced intensity of anti-cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-228
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Children
  • H1N1
  • Malignancies
  • Viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology


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