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The dynamics of influenza A viral load in respiratory samples collected from adult A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza patients were investigated. Three respiratory specimens were obtained every 2–4 days and clinical findings were recorded at the time each specimen was collected. A total of 105 serial specimens were collected from 35 patients. Viral clearance was more rapid in patients aged 15–29 years than patients aged 30–49 years (P < 0·01) or ⩾50 years (P < 0·01). Hospitalized patients showed slow viral clearance compared to outpatients (P < 0·01). Resolution of cough and headache was correlated with viral load reduction in respiratory specimens. Viral shedding was found in 17 patients (48·6%) 5 days after symptom onset. Time to hospital visit after symptom onset was significantly correlated with prolonged viral shedding (odds ratio 9·0, 95% confidence interval 1·56–51·87, P = 0·01). These findings will contribute to infection control aspects with respect to managing patients with influenza virus infections.
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