This study comprehensively estimated the excess cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality attributable to influenza in an older (age ≥65 years) population.
Ecological study.
Aggregated data from administrative systems on CVD mortality, influenza surveillance and meteorological data in Beijing, China.
Excess overall CVD, and separately for ischaemic heart disease (IHD), ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke mortality attributable to influenza, adjusting for influenza activity, time trend, seasonality and ambient temperature.
CVD (risk ratio (RR) 1.02, 95% CI 1.01, 1.02), IHD (RR 1.01, 95% CI 1.01, 1.02), ischaemic stroke (RR=1.03, 95% CI 1.02, 1.04), but not haemorrhagic stroke (RR=1.00, 95% CI 0.99, 1.01) mortality, were significantly associated with every 10% increase in influenza activity. An increase in circulating A(H1N1)09pdm, A(H3N2) and B type virus were all significantly associated with CVD and ischaemic stroke mortality, but only A(H3N2) and B type virus with IHD mortality. The strongest increase in disease mortality was in the same week as the increase in influenza activity. Annual excess CVD mortality rate attributable to influenza ranged from 54 to 96 per 100 000 population. The 3%-6% CVD mortality attributable to influenza activity was related to an annual excess of 916-1640 CVD deaths in Beijing, China.
Influenza activity has moderate to strong associations with CVD, IHD and ischaemic stroke mortality in older adults in China. Promoting influenza vaccination could have major health benefit in this population.
Influenza may trigger serious CVD events. An estimation of excess CVD mortality attributable to influenza has particular relevance in China where vaccination is low and CVD burden is high.
This study analysed data at the population level (age ≥65 years) using linked aggregated data from administrative systems on CVD mortality, influenza surveillance and meteorological data during 2011 to 2018. Quasi-Poisson regression models were used to estimate the excess overall CVD, and separately for IHD, ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke mortality attributable to influenza, adjusting for influenza activity, time trend, seasonality and ambient temperature. Analyses were also undertaken for influenza subtypes (A(H1N1)09pdm, A(H3N2) and B viruses), and mortality risk with time lags of 1-5 weeks following influenza activity in the current week.

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