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Clinical characteristics of fatalities due to influenza A (H1N1) virus in Mexico
  1. Germán Fajardo-Dolci1,
  2. Rafael Gutierrez-Vega1,
  3. Heberto Arboleya-Casanova1,
  4. Aremis Villalobos2,
  5. Kate S Wilson2,
  6. Sandra G García2,
  7. Julio Sotelo3,
  8. José A Córdova Villalobos4,
  9. Claudia Díaz-Olavarrieta2
  1. 1National Commission of Medical Arbitration, Ministry of Health, Mexico
  2. 2National Institute of Public Health, Mexico
  3. 3Coordinating Committee of National Institutes of Health and High Specialty Hospitals, Mexico
  4. 4Minister of Health, Mexico
  1. Correspondence to Claudia Diaz Olavarrieta, National Institute of Public Health Research Center on Health Population, 7a Cerrada Fray Pedro de Gante # 50, Col. Seccion XVI, Tlalpan, Mexico City, 14000, Mexico; colavarrieta{at}


Background Mexico has experienced a disproportionate mortality burden due to the influenza A(HIN1) pandemic. A study was undertaken to investigate the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the first 100 patients who died from confirmed influenza A(H1N1).

Methods A clinical evaluation was made of the first 100 consecutive deaths of confirmed cases between 10 April and 28 May 2009 reported by the Federal Ministry of Health. Statistical analysis included disease frequencies and descriptive comparisons with national health data.

Results Most patients (60%) were aged 30–79 years, 53% were female and 40% were residents of Mexico City. On admission, 50% had one or more chronic medical conditions including metabolic syndrome (40%), cardiovascular disease (21%), diabetes (20%), hypertension (20%) and respiratory disease (8%). 38% of women and 26% of men were obese based on body mass index). The main clinical symptoms were fever (84%), cough (85%), dyspnoea (75%) and myalgia (30%). The frequency of all chronic diseases was higher in this sample than in the national statistics. Most (82%) developed symptoms before the Mexican government issued the influenza alert (24 April). Median hospital stay prior to death was 4 days (range 0–58).

Conclusions Patients, mostly young adults, who died from A(HIN1) influenza had a high frequency of one or more chronic diseases upon admission. Most died shortly after the health authorities initiated national influenza control measures.

  • Influenza A(H1N1)
  • pathogenicity influenza A virus
  • Mexico
  • clinical epidemiology

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  • Funding CD-O was supported by Fogarty grant # 1R21TW06786-01.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval No ethical approval was required because this was a secondary analysis of mortality data.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • All authors, external and internal, had full access to all of the data (including statistical reports and tables) in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Data sharing: no additional data available.

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