Influenza A virus subtype H1N1

13:19, November 04, 2009      

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Influenza A (H1N1) virus is a subtype of influenzavirus A and the most common cause of influenza (flu) in humans. Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans and cause a small fraction of all influenza-like illness and a large fraction of all seasonal influenza. H1N1 strains caused roughly half of all human flu infections in 2006. Other strains of H1N1 are endemic in pigs (swine influenza) and in birds (avian influenza).


Illustration of influenza antigenic shift.


In June 2009, World Health Organization declared that flu due to a new strain of swine-origin H1N1 was responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic. This strain is often called "swine flu" by the public media.

2009 A(H1N1) pandemic

In the 2009 flu pandemic, the virus isolated from patients in the United States was found to be made up of genetic elements from four different flu viruses – North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza, and swine influenza virus typically found in Asia and Europe – "an unusually mongrelised mix of genetic sequences." This new strain appears to be a result of reassortment of human influenza and swine influenza viruses, in all four different strains of subtype H1N1.

Preliminary genetic characterization found that the hemagglutinin (HA) gene was similar to that of swine flu viruses present in U.S. pigs since 1999, but the neuraminidase (NA) and matrix protein (M) genes resembled versions present in European swine flu isolates. The six genes from American swine flu are themselves mixtures of swine flu, bird flu, and human flu viruses. While viruses with this genetic makeup had not previously been found to be circulating in humans or pigs, there is no formal national surveillance system to determine what viruses are circulating in pigs in the U.S.

On June 11, 2009, the WHO declared an H1N1 pandemic, moving the alert level to phase 6, marking the first global pandemic since the 1968 Hong Kong flu.

An October 11, 2009 worldwide update by the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) states that "74 countries have officially reported over 399,234 laboratory confirmed cases of the influenza pandemic H1N1 infection, including 4,735 deaths."

On October 25, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama officially declared H1N1 a "national emergency".

A study -conducted in coordination with the University of Michigan Health Service- is scheduled for publication in the December 2009 American Journal of Roentgenology warning that H1N1 flu can cause pulmonary emboli, surmised as a leading cause of death in this current pandemic. The study authors suggest physician evaluation via contrast enhanced CT scans for the presence of pulmonary emboli when caring for patients diagnosed with respiratory complications from a "severe" case of the H1N1 flu.

Source: wikipedia
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