Publication Details

Blyth, C. C., Foo, H., Van Hal, S. J., Hurt, A. C., Barr, I. G., McPhie, K., Armstrong, P. K., Rawlinson, W. D., Sheppeard, V., Conaty, S., Staff, M., Dwyer, D. E., Sintchenko, V., Gilbert, G. L., Komadina, N., Shaw, R., Adamson, S., Fizzell, J., Fennell, P. M., Alawi, F. Ba., Corbett, S., Weston, K., Truman, G., Nguyen, O., Paterson, J., Gabriele, S., Moreira, C., Forssman, B., Cretikos, M., Maywood, P., Bowden, V., Lowbridge, C., Williams, S., Torres, M. & Heron, L. (2010). Influenza outbreaks during World Youth Day 2008 mass gathering. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16 (5), 809-815.


Influenza outbreaks during mass gatherings have been rarely described, and detailed virologic assessment is lacking. An influenza outbreak occurred during World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, July 2008 (WYD2008). We assessed epidemiologic data and respiratory samples collected from attendees who sought treatment for influenza-like illness at emergency clinics in Sydney during this outbreak. Isolated influenza viruses were compared with seasonal influenza viruses from the 2008 influenza season. From 100 infected attendees, numerous strains were identified: oseltamivir-resistant influenza A (H1N1) viruses, oseltamivir-sensitive influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and strains from both influenza B lineages (B/Florida/4/2006-like and B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like). Novel viruses were introduced, and pre-WYD2008 seasonal viruses were amplified. Viruses isolated at mass gatherings can have substantial, complex, and unpredictable effects on community influenza activity. Greater flexibility by public health authorities and hospitals is required to appropriately manage and contain these outbreaks.



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