[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell culture is now available as a method for the production of influenza vaccines in addition to eggs. In accordance with currently accepted practice, viruses recommended as candidates for vaccine manufacture are isolated and propagated exclusively in hens’ eggs prior to distribution to manufacturers. Candidate vaccine viruses isolated in cell culture are not available to support vaccine manufacturing in mammalian cell bioreactors so egg-derived viruses have to be used. Recently influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been difficult to isolate directly in eggs. As mitigation against this difficulty, and the possibility of no suitable egg-isolated candidate viruses being available, it is proposed to consider using mammalian cell lines for primary isolation of influenza viruses as candidates for vaccine production in egg and cell platforms.
To investigate this possibility, we tested the antigenic stability of viruses isolated and propagated in cell lines qualified for influenza vaccine manufacture and subsequently investigated antigen yields of such viruses in these cell lines at pilot-scale. Twenty influenza A and B-positive, original clinical specimens were inoculated in three MDCK cell lines. The antigenicity of recovered viruses was tested by hemagglutination inhibition using ferret sera against contemporary vaccine viruses and the amino acid sequences of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase were determined. MDCK cell lines proved to be highly sensitive for virus isolation. Compared to the virus sequenced from the original specimen, viruses passaged three times in the MDCK lines showed up to 2 amino acid changes in the hemagglutinin. Antigenic stability was also established by hemagglutination inhibition titers comparable to those of the corresponding reference virus. Viruses isolated in any of the three MDCK lines grew reasonably well but variably in three MDCK cells and in VERO cells at pilot-scale. These results indicate that influenza viruses isolated in vaccine certified cell lines may well qualify for use in vaccine production.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Live attenuated influenza vaccine viruses (LAIVs) can be generated by classical reassortment of gene segments between a cold adapted, temperature sensitive and attenuated Master Donor Virus (MDV) and a seasonal wild-type (wt) virus. The vaccine candidates contain hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes derived from the circulating wt viruses and the remaining six genes derived from the MDV strains. Rapid, efficient selection of the viruses with 6∶2 genome compositions from the large number of genetically different viruses generated during reassortment is essential for the biannual production schedule of vaccine viruses.
This manuscript describes a new approach for the genotypic analysis of LAIV reassortant virus clones based on pyrosequencing. LAIV candidate viruses were created by classical reassortment of seasonal influenza A (H3N2) (A/Victoria/361/2011, A/Ohio/02/2012, A/Texas/50/2012) or influenza A (H7N9) (A/Anhui/1/2013) wt viruses with the MDV A/Leningrad/134/17/57(H2N2). Using strain-specific pyrosequencing assays, mixed gene variations were detected in the allantoic progenies during the cloning procedure. The pyrosequencing analysis also allowed for estimation of the relative abundance of segment variants in mixed populations. This semi-quantitative approach was used for selecting specific clones for the subsequent cloning procedures.
The present study demonstrates that pyrosequencing analysis is a useful technique for rapid and reliable genotyping of reassortants and intermediate clones during the preparation of LAIV candidates, and can expedite the selection of vaccine virus candidates.
PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92580. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Live attenuated influenza vaccines offer significant advantages over subunit or split inactivated vaccines to mitigate an eventual influenza pandemic, including simpler manufacturing process and more cross-protective immune responses.Using an established reverse genetics (rg) system for wild type A/Leningrad/134/1957 and cold-adapted (ca) A/Leningrad/134/17/1957 (Len17) master donor virus (MDV) we produced and characterized three rg H5N1 reassortant viruses carrying modified HA and intact NA genes from either A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1, VN1203, clade 1) or A/Egypt/321/2007 (H5N1, EG321, clade 2) viruses. A mouse model of infection was used to determine the infectivity and tissue tropism of the parent wt viruses as compared to the ca master donor viruses as well as the H5N1 resassortants. All ca viruses showed reduced replication in lungs and enhanced replication in nasal epithelium. In addition, the H5N1 HA and NA enhanced replication in lungs unless it was restricted by the internal genes of the ca MDV. Mice inoculated twice four weeks apart with the H5N1 reassortant LAIV candidate viruses developed serum HI and IgA antibody titers to the homologous and heterologous viruses consistent with protective immunity. These animals remained healthy after challenge inoculation with a lethal dose with homologous or heterologous wt H5N1 HPAI. The profiles of viral replication in respiratory tissues, immunogenicity and protective efficacy characteristics of the two ca H5N1 candidate LAIV warrant further development into a vaccine for human use.
Clinical and vaccine Immunology: CVI 03/2014; · 2.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The non-covalent interactions that mediate trimerization of the influenza hemagglutinin (HA) are important determinants of its biological activities. Recent studies have demonstrated that mutations in the HA trimer interface affect the thermal and pH sensitivities of HA, suggesting a possible impact on vaccine stability (Farnsworth et al. 2011. Vaccine 29:: 1529-1533). We used size exclusion chromatography analysis of recombinant HA ectodomain to compare the differences among recombinant trimeric HA proteins from early 2009 pandemic H1N1 viruses, which dissociate to monomers, with those of more recent virus HAs that can be expressed as trimers. We analyzed differences amongst the HA sequences and identified inter-molecular interactions mediated by the residue at position 374 (HA0 numbering) of the HA2 sub-domain as critical for HA trimer stability. Crystallographic analyses of HA from the recent H1N1 virus A/Washington/5/2011 highlight the structural basis for this observed phenotype. It remains to be seen whether more recent viruses with this mutation will yield more stable vaccines in the future.
Hemagglutinins from the early 2009 H1N1 pandemic viruses are unable to maintain a trimeric complex when expressed in a recombinant system. However HAs from 2010 and 2011 strains are more stable and our work highlights the improvement in stability can be attributed to an E47K substitution in the HA2 subunit of the stalk that emerged naturally in the circulating viruses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Bangladesh, little is known about the genomic composition and antigenicity of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses, their geographic distribution, temporal patterns, or gene flow within the avian host population. Forty highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses isolated from humans and poultry in Bangladesh between 2008 and 2012 were analyzed by full genome sequencing and antigenic characterization. The analysis included viruses collected from avian hosts and environmental sampling in live bird markets, backyard poultry flocks, outbreak investigations in wild birds or poultry and from three human cases. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the ancestors of these viruses reassorted (1) with other gene lineages of the same clade, (2) between different clades and (3) with low pathogenicity avian influenza A virus subtypes. Bayesian estimates of the time of most recent common ancestry, combined with geographic information, provided evidence of probable routes and timelines of virus spread into and out of Bangladesh.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed drug susceptibilities of 125 avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses isolated from poultry in Vietnam during 2009-2011. Of 25 clade 1.1 viruses, all possessed a marker of resistance to M2 blockers amantadine and rimantadine; 24 were inhibited by neuraminidase inhibitors. One clade 1.1 virus contained the R430W neuraminidase gene and reduced inhibition by oseltamivir, zanamivir, and laninamivir 12-, 73-, and 29-fold, respectively. Three of 30 clade 2.3.4 viruses contained a I223T mutation and showed 7-fold reduced inhibition by oseltamivir. One of 70 clade 18.104.22.168 viruses had the H275Y marker of oseltamivir resistance and exhibited highly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir and peramivir; antiviral agents DAS181 and favipiravir inhibited H275Y mutant virus replication in MDCK-SIAT1 cells. Replicative fitness of the H275Y mutant virus was comparable to that of wildtype virus. These findings highlight the role of drug susceptibility monitoring of H5N1 subtype viruses circulating among birds to inform antiviral stockpiling decisions for pandemic preparedness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In August 2011, one of the earliest cases of influenza A(H3N2) variant [A(H3N2)v] virus infection was hospitalized with severe illness. To investigate the potential for healthcare-associated transmission of influenza A(H3N2)v, we evaluated both healthcare providers and patient contacts of the case. We found that healthcare-associated transmission was unlikely.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 12/2013; 34(12):1306-9. · 4.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated unusual crow mortality in Bangladesh during January-February 2011 at two sites. Crows of two species, Corvus splendens and C. macrorhynchos, were found sick and dead during the outbreaks. In selected crow roosts, morbidity was ~1 % and mortality was ~4 % during the investigation. Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 clade 22.214.171.124 was isolated from dead crows. All isolates were closely related to A/duck/India/02CA10/2011 (H5N1) with 99.8 % and A/crow/Bangladesh/11rs1984-15/2011 (H5N1) virus with 99 % nucleotide sequence identity in their HA genes. The phylogenetic cluster of Bangladesh viruses suggested a common ancestor with viruses found in poultry from India, Myanmar and Nepal. Histopathological changes and immunohistochemistry staining in brain, pancreas, liver, heart, kidney, bursa of Fabricius, rectum, and cloaca were consistent with influenza virus infection. Through our limited investigation in domesticated birds near the crow roosts, we did not identify any samples that tested positive for influenza virus A/H5N1. However, environmental samples collected from live-bird markets near an outbreak site during the month of the outbreaks tested very weakly positive for influenza virus A/H5N1 in clade 126.96.36.199-specific rRT-PCR. Continuation of surveillance in wild and domestic birds may identify evolution of new avian influenza virus and associated public-health risks.
Archives of Virology 10/2013; · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antigenic variation among circulating H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses mandates the continuous production of strain-specific pre-pandemic vaccine candidates and represents a significant challenge for pandemic preparedness. Here we assessed the structural, antigenic and receptor-binding properties of three H5N1 HPAI virus hemagglutinins, which were recently selected by the WHO as vaccine candidates [A/Egypt/N03072/2010 (Egypt10, clade 2.2.1), A/Hubei/1/2010 (Hubei10, clade 188.8.131.52) and A/Anhui/1/2005 (Anhui05, clade 2.3.4)]. These analyses revealed that antigenic diversity among these three isolates was restricted to changes in the size and charge of amino acid side chains at a handful of positions, spatially equivalent to the antigenic sites identified in H1 subtype viruses circulating among humans. All three of the H5N1 viruses analyzed in this study were responsible for fatal human infections, with the most recently-isolated strains, Hubei10 and Egypt10, containing multiple residues in the receptor-binding site of the HA, which were suspected to enhance mammalian transmission. However, glycan-binding analyses demonstrated a lack of binding to human α2-6-linked sialic acid receptor analogs for all three HAs, reinforcing the notion that receptor-binding specificity contributes only partially to transmissibility and pathogenesis of HPAI viruses and suggesting that changes in host specificity must be interpreted in the context of the host and environmental factors, as well as the virus as a whole. Together, our data reveal structural linkages with phylogenetic and antigenic analyses of recently emerged H5N1 virus clades and should assist in interpreting the significance of future changes in antigenic and receptor-binding properties.
PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e75209. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Variant influenza virus infections are rare but may have pandemic potential if person-to-person transmission is efficient. We describe the epidemiology of a multi-state outbreak of an influenza A H3N2v virus first identified in 2011. Methods. We identified laboratory-confirmed cases of H3N2v and used a standard case report form to characterize illness and exposures. We considered illness to result from person-to-person H3N2v virus transmission if swine contact was not identified within 4 days prior to illness onset. Results. From July 9-September 7, 2012, we identified 306 cases of H3N2v in ten states. The median age of all cases was 6 years. Commonly reported signs and symptoms included fever (98%), cough (84%), and fatigue (83%). Sixteen cases (5.2%) were hospitalized, and one fatal case was identified. The majority of cases reported agricultural fair attendance (93%) and/or contact with swine (95%) prior to illness. We identified 15 cases of possible person-to-person transmission of H3N2v virus. Viruses recovered from cases were 93% to 100% identical and similar to viruses recovered from previous cases of H3N2v. All H3N2v viruses examined were susceptible to the oseltamivir and zanamivir and resistant to adamantane antiviral medications. Conclusion. In a large outbreak of variant influenza, the majority of cases reported exposures suggesting swine contact at an agricultural fair was a risk for H3N2v virus infection. We identified limited person-to-person H3N2v virus transmission, but found no evidence of efficient or sustained person-to-person transmission. Fair managers and attendees should be aware of the risk of swine-to-human transmission of influenza viruses in these settings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development and improvement of quality control tests for live attenuated vaccines are a high priority because of safety concerns. Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) viruses are 6:2 reassortants containing the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuroaminidase (NA) gene segments from circulating influenza viruses to induce protective immune responses, and the six internal gene segments from a cold-adapted Master Donor Virus (MDV). LAIV candidate viruses for the 2012-2013 seasons, A/Victoria/361/2011-CDC-LV1 (LV1) and B/Texas/06/2011-CDC-LV2B (LV2B), were created by classical reassortment of A/Victoria/361/2011 and MDV-A A/Leningrad/134/17/57 (H2N2) or B/Texas/06/2011 and MDV-B B/USSR/60/69. In an attempt to provide better identity and stability testing for quality control of LV1 and LV2B, sensitive real-time RT-PCR assays (rRT-PCR) were developed to detect the presence of undesired gene segments (HA and NA from MDV and the six internal genes from the seasonal influenza viruses). The sensitivity of rRT-PCR assays designed for each gene segment ranged from 0.08 to 0.8 EID50 (50% of Egg Infectious Dose) per reaction for the detection of undesired genes in LV1 and from 0.1 to 1 EID50 per reaction for the detection of undesired genes in LV2B. No undesired genes were detected either before or after five passages of LV1 or LV2B in eggs. The complete genome sequencing of LV1 and LV2B confirmed the results of rRT-PCR, demonstrating the utility of the new rRT-PCR assays to provide the evidence for the homogeneity of the prepared vaccine candidate.
Journal of virological methods 09/2013; · 2.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We identified 2 poultry workers with conjunctivitis caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H7N3) viruses in Jalisco, Mexico. Genomic and antigenic analyses of 1 isolate indicated relatedness to poultry and wild bird subtype H7N3 viruses from North America. This isolate had a multibasic cleavage site that might have been derived from recombination with host rRNA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Surveillance for influenza A viruses in wild birds has increased substantially as part of efforts to control the global movement of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. Studies conducted in Egypt from 2003 to 2007 to monitor birds for H5N1 identified multiple subtypes of low pathogenicity avian influenza A viruses isolated primarily from migratory waterfowl collected in the Nile Delta. Phylogenetic analysis of 28 viral genomes was performed to estimate their nearest ancestors and identify possible reassortants. Migratory flyway patterns were included in the analysis to assess gene flow between overlapping flyways. Overall, the viruses were most closely related to Eurasian, African and/or Central Asian lineage low pathogenicity viruses and belonged to 15 different subtypes. A subset of the internal genes seemed to originate from specific flyways (Black Sea-Mediterranean, East African-West Asian). The remaining genes were derived from a mixture of viruses broadly distributed across as many as 4 different flyways suggesting the importance of the Nile Delta for virus dispersal. Molecular clock date estimates suggested that the time to the nearest common ancestor of all viruses analyzed ranged from 5 to 10 years, indicating frequent genetic exchange with viruses sampled elsewhere. The intersection of multiple migratory bird flyways and the resulting diversity of influenza virus gene lineages in the Nile Delta create conditions favoring reassortment, as evident from the gene constellations identified by this study. In conclusion, we present for the first time a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of full genome sequences from low pathogenic avian influenza viruses circulating in Egypt, underscoring the significance of the region for viral reassortment and the potential emergence of novel avian influenza A viruses, as well as representing a highly diverse influenza A virus gene pool that merits continued monitoring.
PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e68522. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic analyses of 169 influenza A(H5N1) virus genomes were conducted for samples collected through active surveillance and outbreak responses in Vietnam between September 2010 and September 2012. While clade 1.1 viruses persisted in southern regions, three genetically distinct subgroups of clade 184.108.40.206 were found in northern and central Vietnam. The identification of each subgroup corresponded with detection of novel reassortants, likely due to their overlapping circulation throughout the country. While the previously identified clade 1.1 and A/Hubei/1/2010-like 220.127.116.11 genotypes remained the predominant viruses detected, four viruses were found to be reassortants between A/Hubei/1/2010-like (HA, NA, PB2, PB1, PA, NP) and A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like (M, NS) viruses and one virus was identified as having A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like HA, NA, PB1, and NP with A/Hubei/1/2010-like PB2 and PA genes. Additionally, clade 18.104.22.168 A/Hong Kong/6841/2010-like viruses, first detected in mid-2012, were identified as reassortants comprised of A/Hubei/1/2010-like PB2 and PA and A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like PB1, NP, NA, M, NS genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. During August 2011-April 2012, 13 human infections with influenza A(H3N2) variant (H3N2v) virus were identified in the United States; 8 occurred in the prior 2 years. This virus differs from previous variant influenza viruses in that it contains the matrix (M) gene from the Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic influenza virus. Methods. A case was defined as a person with laboratory-confirmed H3N2v virus infection. Cases and contacts were interviewed to determine exposure to swine and other animals and to assess potential person-to-person transmission. Results. Median age of cases was 4 years, and 12 of 13 (92%) were children. Pig exposure was identified in 7 (54%) cases. Six of 7 cases with swine exposure (86%) touched pigs, and 1 (14%) was close to pigs without known direct contact. Six cases had no swine exposure, including 2 clusters of suspected person-to-person transmission. All cases had fever; 12 (92%) had respiratory symptoms, and 3 (23%) were hospitalized for influenza. All 13 cases recovered. Conclusions. H3N2v virus infections were identified at a high rate from August 2011 to April 2012, and cases without swine exposure were identified in influenza-like illness outbreaks, indicating that limited person-to-person transmission likely occurred. Variant influenza viruses rarely result in sustained person-to-person transmission; however, the potential for this H3N2v virus to transmit efficiently is of concern. With minimal preexisting immunity in children and the limited cross-protective effect from seasonal influenza vaccine, the majority of children are susceptible to infection with this novel influenza virus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors (NAIs) are currently the only antivirals effective against influenza infections due to widespread resistance to M2 inhibitors. METHODS: Influenza A and B viruses (n = 1079) collected worldwide between April 01, 2011, and September 30, 2011, were assessed for susceptibility to FDA-approved NAIs, oseltamivir and zanamivir, and investigational peramivir, using the fluorescent-based NA-Fluor™ Influenza Neuraminidase Assay Kit. A subset of viruses (n = 98) were tested for susceptibility to the investigational NAI, laninamivir. RESULTS: Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses (n = 326) were sensitive to all NAIs, except for two (0·6%) with H275Y (N1 numbering; H274Y in N2 numbering) substitution, which exhibited elevated IC50 s for oseltamivir and peramivir, and a third with previously unreported N325K substitution, exhibiting reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses (n = 407) were sensitive to all NAIs. Influenza B viruses (n = 346) were sensitive to all NAIs, except two (0·6%) with H273Y (N1 numbering; H274Y in N2 numbering) substitution, exhibiting reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir and peramivir, and one with previously unreported G140R and N144K substitutions, exhibiting reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir. All influenza A and B viruses were sensitive to laninamivir. It is unknown whether substitutions N325K, G140R, and N144K were present in the virus prior to culturing because clinical specimens were unavailable for testing. CONCLUSIONS: This study summarizes NAI susceptibility of influenza viruses circulating worldwide during the 2011 Southern Hemisphere (SH) season, assessed using the NA-Fluor™ Kit. Despite low resistance to NAIs among tested influenza viruses, constant surveillance of influenza virus susceptibility to NAIs should be emphasized.
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 04/2013; · 1.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses isolated from humans infected in Egypt during 2007-2011. All analyzed viruses evolved from the lineage of subtype H5N1 viruses introduced into Egypt in 2006; we found minimal evidence of reassortment and no exotic introductions. The hemagglutinin genes of the viruses from 2011 formed a monophyletic group within clade 2.2.1 that also included human viruses from 2009 and 2010 and contemporary viruses from poultry; this finding is consistent with zoonotic transmission. Although molecular markers suggestive of decreased susceptibility to antiviral drugs were detected sporadically in the neuraminidase and matrix 2 proteins, functional neuraminidase inhibition assays did not identify resistant viruses. No other mutations suggesting a change in the threat to public health were detected in the viral proteomes. However, a comparison of representative subtype H5N1 viruses from 2011 with older subtype H5N1 viruses from Egypt revealed substantial antigenic drift.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza type B viruses are responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality in humans. Antiviral drugs are an important supplement to vaccination for reducing the public health impact of influenza virus infections. Influenza B viruses are not sensitive to M2 inhibitors which limit the current therapeutic options to two neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs), oseltamivir and zanamivir, which are licensed in many countries. Drug resistance is a public health concern which has necessitated monitoring of influenza virus drug susceptibilities through active global surveillance. Here, we report the results of drug susceptibility surveillance of influenza type B viruses (n=680) collected in mainland China during two calendar years, 2010 and 2011, assessed using functional neuraminidase (NA) inhibition (NI) assays. Four influenza B viruses exhibited reduced susceptibilities to oseltamivir, but not zanamivir, and shared the amino acid substitution I221T (ATC→ACC), at this conserved residue in the NA active site (I222T in N2 numbering). Additionally, a single virus with reduced susceptibility to both oseltamivir and zanamivir was identified and contained an amino acid substitution D197N (GAC→AAC) at another conserved residue in the NA active site (D198N in N2 numbering). This report underlies the importance of continued influenza antiviral susceptibility surveillance globally, even in countries where the use of NAIs has been low or non-existing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During August 2011, influenza A (H3N2) variant [A(H3N2)v] virus infection developed in a child who attended an agricultural fair in Pennsylvania, USA; the virus resulted from reassortment of a swine influenza virus with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. We interviewed fair attendees and conducted a retrospective cohort study among members of an agricultural club who attended the fair. Probable and confirmed cases of A(H3N2)v virus infection were defined by serology and genomic sequencing results, respectively. We identified 82 suspected, 4 probable, and 3 confirmed case-patients who attended the fair. Among 127 cohort study members, the risk for suspected case status increased as swine exposure increased from none (4%; referent) to visiting swine exhibits (8%; relative risk 2.1; 95% CI 0.2-53.4) to touching swine (16%; relative risk 4.4; 95% CI 0.8-116.3). Fairs may be venues for zoonotic transmission of viruses with epidemic potential; thus, health officials should investigate respiratory illness outbreaks associated with agricultural events.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: In August 2011, a child who attended an agricultural fair (Fair A) in Pennsylvania developed infection with an influenza A (H3N2) variant [A (H3N2)v] virus. This novel virus resulted from reassortment of swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) with influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 and therefore raised concerns of efficient human-to-human transmission. We sought to determine the extent of influenza transmission and identify risk factors for illness.
Methods: We traced contacts of the child and identified additional cases among fairgoers. Suspected cases were defined as having at least 2 symptoms from fever, respiratory, gastrointestinal, or constitutional categories ≤7 days after attending Fair A (fever or respiratory symptoms were required). Probable and confirmed cases had influenza A (H3N2)v infection by serology and genomic sequencing, respectively. We also conducted a retrospective cohort study among randomly selected members of a Pennsylvania agricultural club to evaluate risk factors for influenza-like illness.
Results: We identified 82 suspected, 4 probable, and 3 confirmed cases with symptom onset within 7 days of attending Fair A; all recovered. The cohort study included 247 members; 127 (51%) completed interviews. Median age of cohort members was 13 years (range: 4–19); 34 (27%) exhibited swine at Fair A. There were 14 (11%) suspected cases among cohort members and no probable or confirmed cases. Risk of suspected case status in the cohort increased as pig exposure increased from no exposure (referent) to attending pig exhibits (relative risk [RR]: 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.2–53.4) to touching pigs (RR: 4.4, 95% CI: 0.8–116.3), although these differences were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Swine-to-human transmission of influenza A (H3N2)v likely occurred at Fair A, but subsequent efficient human-to-human transmission of A (H3N2)v was unlikely. Fairs may be venues for zoonotic transmission of viruses with pandemic potential, and health officials should investigate outbreaks of respiratory illness associated with agricultural events. Clinicians should consider variant influenza in patients with influenza-like illness and recent fair or swine exposure.
IDWeek 2012 Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America; 10/2012