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Original article

Vol. 141 No. 4748 (2011)

H1N1 outbreak in a Swiss military boot camp – observations and suggestions

  • V Jeger
  • A Dünki
  • M Germann
  • A Faas
  • A Stettbacher
  • CA Fux
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2011;141:w13307


QUESTIONS UNDER STUDY: The A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza virus is a highly contagious pathogen which caused the 2009 influenza pandemic. The virus is known to affect mainly younger people and may be a problem in crowded living conditions. The aim of the study was to describe a major A(H1N1)pdm09 outbreak in a Swiss military boot camp and to develop suggestions for similar future situations.

METHODS: Retrospective chart analysis of a A(H1N1)pdm09 outbreak between 14 December and 23 December 2010. Symptoms, signs and lab parameters were documented.

RESULTS: 105 of 750 male recruits were affected by the outbreak. All nasopharyngeal swabs of 16 patients with high fever were tested positive. Common clinical symptoms included high fever, myalgia and bronchitis with persistent cough and throat aches. Fever progression typically occurred in two peaks within three days. Median length of stay at the infirmary was 3 days (range: 0.5–9 days).

CONCLUSION: A(H1N1)pdm09 has become a ubiquitous seasonal virus in the region. Complications were uncommon and non life threatening. In the event of new influenza outbreaks, hygienic and containment measures must be quickly and correctly implemented, in order to avoid an epidemic. This should also be considered in non-military settings like school camps or in retirement homes.


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