Background: Data on burden of severe influenza in children with a range of chronic lung diseases (CLDs) remain limited.
Method: We performed a cohort study to estimate burden of influenza-associated hospitalization in children with CLDs using population-based linked data. The cohort comprised all children in New South Wales, Australia, born between 2001 and 2010 and was divided into five groups, children with: (a) severe asthma; (b) bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD); (c) cystic fibrosis (CF); (d) other congenital/chronic lung conditions; and (e) children without CLDs. Incidence rates and rate ratios for influenza-associated hospitalization were calculated for 2001-2011. Average cost/episode of hospitalization was estimated using public hospital cost weights.
Results: Our cohort comprised 888 157 children; 11 058 (1.2%) had one of the CLDs. The adjusted incidence/1000 child-years of influenza-associated hospitalization in children with CLDs was 3.9 (95% CI: 2.6-5.2) and 0.7 (95% CI: 0.5-0.9) for children without. The rate ratio was 5.4 in children with CLDs compared to children without. The adjusted incidence/1000 child-years (95% CI) in children with severe asthma was 1.1 (0.6-1.6), with BPD was 6.0 (3.7-8.3), with CF was 7.4 (2.6-12.1), and with other congenital/chronic lung conditions was 6.9 (4.9-8.9). The cost/episode (95% CI) of influenza-associated hospitalization was AUD 19 704 (95% CI: 11 715-27 693) for children with CLDs compared to 4557 (95% CI: 4129-4984) for children without.
Discussion: This large population-based study suggests a significant healthcare burden associated with influenza in children with a range of CLDs.