SciCombinator

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Concept: Reassortment

10

The influenza virus mutates faster than we previously thought.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Evolution, Influenza, Evolutionary biology, Mutation rate, Reassortment

10

Since 2013 the occurrence of human infections by a novel avian H7N9 influenza virus in China has demonstrated the continuing threat posed by zoonotic pathogens. Although the first outbreak wave that was centred on eastern China was seemingly averted, human infections recurred in October 2013 (refs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). It is unclear how the H7N9 virus re-emerged and how it will develop further; potentially it may become a long-term threat to public health. Here we show that H7N9 viruses have spread from eastern to southern China and become persistent in chickens, which has led to the establishment of multiple regionally distinct lineages with different reassortant genotypes. Repeated introductions of viruses from Zhejiang to other provinces and the presence of H7N9 viruses at live poultry markets have fuelled the recurrence of human infections. This rapid expansion of the geographical distribution and genetic diversity of the H7N9 viruses poses a direct challenge to current disease control systems. Our results also suggest that H7N9 viruses have become enzootic in China and may spread beyond the region, following the pattern previously observed with H5N1 and H9N2 influenza viruses.

Concepts: Genetics, Epidemiology, Evolution, Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Reassortment

9

BACKGROUND: Low absolute humidity (AH) has been associated with increased influenza virus survival and transmissibility and the onset of seasonal influenza outbreaks. Humidification of indoor environments may mitigate viral transmission and may be an important control strategy, particularly in schools where viral transmission is common and contributes to the spread of influenza in communities. However, the variability and predictors of AH in the indoor school environment and the feasibility of classroom humidification to levels that could decrease viral survival have not been studied. METHODS: Automated sensors were used to measure temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in two Minnesota grade schools without central humidification during two successive winters. Outdoor AH measurements were derived from the North American Land Data Assimilation System. Variability in indoor AH within classrooms, between classrooms in the same school, and between schools was assessed using concordance correlation coefficients (CCC). Predictors of indoor AH were examined using time-series Auto-Regressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity models. Classroom humidifiers were used when school was not in session to assess the feasibility of increasing indoor AH to levels associated with decreased influenza virus survival, as projected from previously published animal experiments. RESULTS: AH varied little within classrooms (CCC >0.90) but was more variable between classrooms in the same school (CCC 0.81 for School 1, 0.88 for School 2) and between schools (CCC 0.81). Indoor AH varied widely during the winter (range 2.60 to 10.34 millibars [mb]) and was strongly associated with changes in outdoor AH (p < 0.001). Changes in indoor AH on school weekdays were strongly associated with CO2 levels (p < 0.001). Over 4 hours, classroom humidifiers increased indoor AH by 4 mb, an increase sufficient to decrease projected 1-hour virus survival by an absolute value of 30% during winter months. CONCLUSIONS: During winter, indoor AH in non-humidified grade schools varies substantially and often to levels that are very low. Indoor results are predicted by outdoor AH over a season and CO2 levels (which likely reflects human activity) during individual school days. Classroom humidification may be a feasible approach to increase indoor AH to levels that may decrease influenza virus survival and transmission.

Concepts: Influenza, High school, Relative humidity, Primary school, Primary education, Winter, Weather forecasting, Reassortment

8

In May 2016, a highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) virus strain caused deaths among 3 species of wild migratory birds in Qinghai Lake, China. Genetic analysis showed that the novel reassortant virus belongs to group B H5N8 viruses and that the reassortment events likely occurred in early 2016.

Concepts: Evolution, Microbiology, Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, Bird, Strain, Reassortment

8

The movement of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus across Eurasia and into North America and the virus' propensity to reassort with co-circulating low pathogenicity viruses raise concerns among poultry producers, wildlife biologists, aviculturists, and public health personnel worldwide. Surveillance, modeling, and experimental research will provide the knowledge required for intelligent policy and management decisions.

Concepts: Microbiology, Virus, Vaccination, Influenza, Avian influenza, Pandemic, Reassortment

6

Multiple infections of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in poultry or wild birds contribute to the continued evolution of H5 subtype viruses in nature and provide potential recombination of AIVs of different origins. In this study, we carried out surveillance of AIVs in ducks, geese and the environment of a community in Hunan province, China, from 2014-2015. We isolated multiple co-circulated AIVs including H3N2, H3N8, and H5N6, and, most importantly, a novel reassortant: H3N6. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that H3N6 is highly likely derived from H5N6, which has recently been shown to have zoonotic potential with human infections. Studies with mammalian cell lines and a mouse model indicate that four selected AIVs of duck or goose origin can infect MDCK and A549 cells but have low pathogenicity in mice. We propose that a potential co-circulation of multiple subtypes including H5N6 in local area may result in the production of novel subtypes such as H3N6 by gene reassortment.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, Bird, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Reassortment

5

A novel highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N6) virus affecting wild birds and commercial poultry was detected in the Netherlands in December 2017. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the virus is a reassortant of H5N8 clade 2.3.4.4 viruses and not related to the Asian H5N6 viruses that caused human infections.

Concepts: Evolution, Microbiology, Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, Bird, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Reassortment

5

Influenza virus predictably causes an annual epidemic resulting in a considerable burden of illness in Australia. Children are disproportionately affected and can experience severe illness and complications, which occasionally result in death.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Causality, Influenza, Australia, Reassortment

5

A new influenza virus, genus D, isolated in US pigs and cattle, has also been circulating in cattle in France. It was first identified there in 2011, and an increase was detected in 2014. The virus genome in France is 94%-99% identical to its US counterpart, which suggests intercontinental spillover.

Concepts: Organism, Virus, Genome, RNA virus, Influenza, Reassortment

5

The potential for aerosol transmission of infectious influenza virus (ie, in healthcare facilities) is controversial. We constructed a simulated patient examination room that contained coughing and breathing manikins to determine whether coughed influenza was infectious and assessed the effectiveness of an N95 respirator and surgical mask in blocking transmission.

Concepts: Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Influenza, Bronchitis, Common cold, Respirator, Reassortment, Masks