The UK was one of few European countries to document a substantial wave of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza in summer 2009. The First Few Hundred (FF100) project ran from April-June 2009 gathering information on early laboratory-confirmed cases across the UK. In total, 392 confirmed cases were followed up. Children were predominantly affected (median age 15 years, IQR 10-27). Symptoms were mild and similar to seasonal influenza, with the exception of diarrhoea, which was reported by 27%. Eleven per cent of all cases had an underlying medical condition, similar to the general population. The majority (92%) were treated with antiviral drugs with 12% reporting adverse effects, mainly nausea and other gastrointestinal complaints. Duration of illness was significantly shorter when antivirals were given within 48 h of onset (median 5 vs. 9 days, P=0.01). No patients died, although 14 were hospitalized, of whom three required mechanical ventilation. The FF100 identified key clinical and epidemiological characteristics of infection with this novel virus in near real-time.
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