ATLANTA – How beneficial is early initiation of influenza antiviral treatment administered to pregnant women hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza?

To determine that, a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases looked at a cohort of expectant mothers during the 2010-2014 influenza seasons.1

For the study, led by researchers from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and including team members from the Atlanta VAMC, defined severe influenza as illness with more than one of the following characteristics:

  • intensive care unit admission,
  • need for mechanical ventilation,
  • respiratory failure,
  • pulmonary embolism,
  • sepsis, or

Included were 865 pregnant women, median age was 27 years. Most, 68%, were healthy, and 85% received antiviral treatment.

Of the group, 7% had  severe influenza and four women died. Results determined that severity was associated with preterm delivery and fetal loss, and that patients with severe influenza were less likely to be vaccinated than those without severe influenza , 14% vs. 26%.

Among women treated with antivirals within two days or less compared to treated more than two days from illness onset, the median length of stay was 2.2 days vs. 7.8 days, respectively, for severe influenza. For influenza that wasn’t severe, the patients getting antivirals quickly had an average LOS of 2.4 days vs. 3.1 days for those who waited longer.

“Early initiation of influenza antiviral treatment to pregnant women hospitalized with influenza may reduce the length of stay, especially among those with severe influenza. Influenza during pregnancy is associated with maternal and infant morbidity, and annual influenza vaccination is warranted,” study authors concluded.

  1. Oboho IK, Reed C, Gargiullo P, Leon M, Aragon D, et. al. Benefit of Early Initiation of Influenza Antiviral Treatment to Pregnant Women Hospitalized With Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza. J Infect Dis. 2016 Aug 15;214(4):507-15. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw033. PubMed PMID: 26908745.