Thursday, 10 April 2014

Infuenza A(H1N2) in humans and animals

Electron microscope image
 of an influenza virus particle.
Credit: Frederick Murphy
DEPM's Naomi Komadina has co authored a paper which documents the emergence of Influenza A(H1N2) in humans and animals.

In swine, multiple A(H1N2) virus reassortments have included genetic material from avian, swine, and human influenza viruses and have formed multiple A(H1N2) reassortant viruses with differing genetic compositions over time. In humans, the A(H1N2) virus has also arisen as a result of the reassortment of human A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) strains, leading to circulation of A(H1N2) viruses that have a similar genetic composition circulating in China in 1989 and worldwide during 2000–2003.

The paper highlights that, direct cross-species transfer of swine A(H1N2) is rare and until recently was restricted to reports of single cases from the Philippines (2004) and from Michigan and Minnesota in 2007 and 2011. Detection of a cluster of 4 swine-origin human A(H1N2) cases during the final days of the Minnesota agricultural fair in 2012 was therefore a noteworthy event. The rise of H1N2 reassortants containing genes from the H1N1pdm09 virus, in particular the matrix gene, which has been associated with high transmission efficiency, underscores the fact that influenza reassortment is an ongoing process, that humans can become infected with novel viruses caused by reassortment or transmission of swine origin viruses, and that these novel viruses may have the potential to cause human pandemics.

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