Costs of health care for influenza-related episodes in high-income countries

Added April 4, 2020

Citation: Federici C, Cavazza M, Costa F, et al. Health care costs of influenza-related episodes in high income countries: A systematic review. PLoS ONE 2018; 13(9): e0202787

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a great strain on health systems and economies. Information on the cost-effectiveness of interventions used for other respiratory viruses might help those making decisions about interventions for COVID-19.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for cost of illness analyses on the main determinants of direct healthcare expenditure for influenza health-related episodes in high-income countries. They included influenza and influenza like illnesses (ILI), but studies looking at the cost of pandemic influenza (such as H1N1 in 2009) were not included. The authors did their searches in December 2016. They identified 27 studies and sought to identify a cost per influenza-related episode from a healthcare system perspective in high-income countries

What was found: Influenza and ILI place a substantial burden on the healthcare sector and the society.

Cost estimates differed across countries, and these differences may reflect country-specific characteristics as well as other study-specific features.

On average, inpatient and outpatient services accounted for 43.5% and 44.5% of the total cost per episode.

Patients’ risk-profile, co-morbidities and complications were important cost-drivers.

What’s uncertain: The appropriateness of pharmaceutical treatment for ILI episodes was not considered in the review.

The evidence for the impact on costs of visits to an emergency department is uncertain because these data were not consistently reported.


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