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Papers And Originals

Influenza and Infant Mortality

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: (Published 02 September 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:553
  1. G. Wynne Griffith,
  2. A. M. Adelstein,
  3. P. M. Lambert,
  4. J. A. C. Weatherall


    Early neonatal mortality in England and Wales in the second quarter of 1970 after a major influenza epidemic was slightly but significantly higher than in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. An increase was also noted in the first quarter of 1970. Analysis of infant mortality and an index of influenza prevalence over the past quarter-century indicates that similar increases occurred in relation to four of the other five major influenza epidemics during the period, the exception being the “Asian 'flu” epidemic of the autumn of 1957. It is suggested that the increased mortality in 1970 was the consequence of an increase in the prematurity rate, but we have no evidence to indicate whether the effect is specifically due to the virus or is nonspecific in nature.