Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 637064, 8 pages
Research Article

Age-Dependent Estimates of the Epidemiological Impact of Pandemic Influenza (H1N1-2009) in Japan

1School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Level 6, Core F, Cyberport 3, 100 Cyberport Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
2Department of International Health, Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine and GCOE, Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan
3PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

Received 30 November 2012; Accepted 15 January 2013

Academic Editor: Gerardo Chowell

Copyright © 2013 Kenji Mizumoto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The total number of influenza cases with medical attendance has been estimated from sentinel surveillance data in Japan under a random sampling assumption of sentinel medical institutions among the total medical institutions. The 2009 pandemic offered a research opportunity to validate the sentinel-based estimation method using the estimated proportion of infections measured by the population-wide seroepidemiological survey employing hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) assay. For the entire population, we estimated the age-standardized proportion of infections at 28.5% and 23.5% using cut-off values of HI titer at 1 : 20 and 1 : 40, respectively. Investigating the age profiles, we show that the estimated influenza-like illness (ILI) cases with medical attendance exceeded the estimated infections among those aged from 0 to 19 years, indicating an overestimation of the magnitude by sentinel-based estimation method. The ratio of estimated cases to estimated infections decreased as a function of age. Examining the geographic distributions, no positive correlation was identified between the estimated cases and infections. Our findings indicate a serious technical limitation of the so-called multiplier method in appropriately quantifying the risk of influenza due to limited specificity of ILI and reporting bias. A seroepidemiological study should be planned in advance of a pandemic.