Causes of Death Associated with Complicated Influenza-Taiwan, 2011-2012 Influenza Season

Yi-Chun Lo1, Hung-Wei Kuo2, Yu-Fen Hsu2, Jen-Hsiang Chuang2

2012 Vol.28 NO.2

Correspondence Author: Yi-Chun Lo

  • 1.Epidemic Intelligence Center, Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan
  • 2.Field Epidemiology Training Program, Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan


Influenza can be complicated with pulmonary and extrapulmonary diseases, secondary bacterial infection, and exacerbation of underlying chronic conditions. From July 1, 2011 to January 16, 2012, Taiwan Centers of Disease Control was notified of 587 cases of complicated influenza, including 28 (4.8%) deaths of which 20 tested positive for influenza B and 8 for influenza A (H3). Medical records were reviewed to determine the major causes of death. The 22 deceased adults were aged 48–98 years; all had underlying chronic conditions. Major causes of adult death included influenza virus pneumonia (n =14), exacerbation of chronic diseases (n =5), Staphylococcus aureus sepsis from pneumonia (n=1) and skin wound infection (n=1), and Acinetobacter baumannii sepsis (n=1). The 6 deceased children were aged 10 months to 12 years; two had an underlying chronic condition (Kawasaki disease and hypoxic encephalopathy, respectively). Major causes of pediatric death included influenza myocarditis (n=2), influenza encephalitis (n=2), influenza virus pneumonia (n=1), and invasive pneumococcal disease (n=1). Health care providers should assess patients with influenza or influenza-like illnesses for emergency warning signs, and take influenza-related secondary bacterial infection and exacerbation of chronic conditions into consideration.