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Respiratory Medicine

Reducing Occurrence and Severity of Pneumonia Due to Pandemic H1N1 2009 by Early Oseltamivir Administration: A Retrospective Study in Mexico
Published: Friday, July 08, 2011
Author: Anjarath Lorena Higuera Iglesias et al.

by Anjarath Lorena Higuera Iglesias, Koichiro Kudo, Toshie Manabe, Alexander Enrique Corcho Berdugo, Ariel Corrales Baeza, Leticia Alfaro Ramos, René Guevara Gutiérrez, María Eugenia Manjarrez Zavala, Jin Takasaki, Shinyu Izumi, Edgar Bautista, José Rogelio Perez Padilla


Anti-viral treatment has been used to treat severe or progressive illness due to pandemic H1N1 2009. A main cause of severe illness in pandemic H1N1 2009 is viral pneumonia; however, it is unclear how effective antiviral treatment is against pneumonia when administered >48 hours after symptom onset. Therefore, we aimed to determine how time from symptom onset to antiviral administration affected the effectiveness of antiviral treatment against pneumonia due to pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

Methods/Principal Findings

A retrospective medical chart review of 442 patients was conducted in a hospital in Mexico. Subjects had tested positive for pandemic H1N1 2009 virus by real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction and were administered oseltamivir. Median time from symptom onset to oseltamivir administration was 5.0 days (range, 0–43). 442 subjects, 71 (16.1%) had severe pneumonia which required mechanical ventilation, 191 (43.2%) had mild to moderate pneumonia, and 180 (40%) did not have pneumonia. Subjects were divided into four groups based on time to oseltamivir administration: =2, 3–7, 8–14, and >14 days. Severity of respiratory features was associated with time to treatment, and multivariate analysis indicated that time to oseltamivir administration was associated with severity of respiratory features. A proportional odds model indicated that 50% probability for occurrence of pneumonia of any severity and that of severe pneumonia in patients who would develop pneumonia reached at approximately 3.4 and 21 days, respectively, after symptom onset. Patients with a shorter time to oseltamivir administration were discharged earlier from the hospital.


Earlier initiation of oseltamivir administration after symptom onset significantly reduced occurrence and severity of pneumonia and shortened hospitalization due to pandemic H1N1 2009. Even when administered >48 hours after symptom onset, oseltamivir showed considerable potential for reducing pneumonia. Application of these results would benefit patients affected by future influenza pandemics.