Background: Understanding the attack rate of influenza infection and the proportion who become ill by risk group is key to implementing prevention measures. While population-based studies of antihemagglutinin antibody responses have been described previously, studies examining both antihemagglutinin and antineuraminidase antibodies are lacking.
Methods: In 2015, we conducted a seroepidemiologic cohort study of individuals randomly selected from a population in New Zealand. We tested paired sera for hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) or neuraminidase inhibition (NAI) titers for seroconversion. We followed participants weekly and performed influenza polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for those reporting influenza-like illness (ILI).
Results: Influenza infection (either HAI or NAI seroconversion) was found in 321 (35% [95% confidence interval, 32%-38%]) of 911 unvaccinated participants, of whom 100 (31%) seroconverted to NAI alone. Young children and Pacific peoples experienced the highest influenza infection attack rates, but overall only a quarter of all infected reported influenza PCR-confirmed ILI, and one-quarter of these sought medical attention. Seroconversion to NAI alone was higher among children aged <5 years vs those aged ≥5 years (14% vs 4%; P < .001) and among those with influenza B vs A(H3N2) virus infections (7% vs 0.3%; P < .001).
Conclusions: Measurement of antineuraminidase antibodies in addition to antihemagglutinin antibodies may be important in capturing the true influenza infection rates.
- Antibody Formation/immunology
- Child, Preschool
- Cohort Studies
- Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
- Infant, Newborn
- Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype/immunology
- Influenza Vaccines/immunology
- Influenza, Human/epidemiology
- Middle Aged
- New Zealand/epidemiology
- Risk Factors
- Seroepidemiologic Studies
- Young Adult