Flu-Like Illness Tied to Increased Relative Mortality in ESRD

Cross section of a human kidney
Cross section of a human kidney
1,000 deaths of kidney failure patients each year in U.S. may be attributable to seasonal influenza

HealthDay News — Community activity for influenza-like illness (ILI) is associated with seasonal variation in all-cause mortality among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), according to a study published online Jan. 24 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

David T. Gilbertson, Ph.D., from the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute in Minneapolis, and colleagues calculated quarterly relative mortality compared with average third-quarter (summer) death counts after addressing overall increasing trends in death due to the growing prevalent ESRD population. Linear regression models were used to assess the correlation between ILI data and mortality.

The researchers found that an estimated 1 percent absolute increase in quarterly ILI correlated with a 1.5 percent increase and a 2.0 percent increase in relative mortality for quarters 4 and 1, respectively. A substantial average number of annual deaths was potentially attributable to ILI (about 1,100 deaths per year).

“We found evidence that community ILI activity is associated with seasonal variation in all-cause mortality in patients with ESRD,” the authors write. “Surveillance efforts, such as near real-time reporting of ILI activity to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, may be useful in focusing attention on periods of high risk for this vulnerable population.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Amgen, which funded the study.

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