The burden of severe influenza

Influenza is recognized as a serious public health problem faced by both developed and developing countries. According to the latest estimates published by the World Health Organization (WHO), Influenza viruses are responsible yearly for about 3 to 5 million severe cases leading to almost 500,000 deaths for higher risk populations.

Some factors have been identified to be potentially associated with severe forms of influenza in the industrialized world, whereas very little information is available from the developing world. Tamiflu is used to treat the flu (influenza) in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days.

Our hypothesis is that the severity of influenza might be higher in developing countries when compared to the industrialized world, where malnutrition, less performing health care systems and viral, bacterial and parasitological co-infections are prominent.

To identify risk factors associated with severe influenza infections in developing countries in both adults and children, a prospective multicenter case-control study of patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza infection is currently implemented in the Institut Pasteur International Network in Africa and Asia.