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Seasonal H1 Re-emerges in Europe
Recombinomics Commentary 15:22
November 1, 2010

A total of 65 influenza virus detections have been reported since week 40: 38 were influenza A (58.5%) and 27 (41.5%) influenza B. Of the influenza A viruses, 9 were subtyped as pandemic influenza A(H1), 1 as influenza A(H1), 13 as influenza A(H3) and 15 were not subtyped.

The above data summarizes results in Europe for the first three weeks (weeks 40-42) of the current flu season for the northern hemisphere.  As seen in reports from North America, confirmed H1 cases are low, but seasonal H1 cases are being reported, in contrast to 2010 reports on H1 cases prior to the recent start of the 2010/2011 season.

The largest number of cases reported is in Texas, although the text in the Texas report states that the 4 H1N1 cases listed in the table are actually H3N2 cases.  However, the reports from Pennsylvania, Canada, and Europe clearly list H1 cases which are not pandemic H1.

The numbers are low (1/3 in PA, 1/2 in Canada, 1/10 in Europe), but the frequencies of H1 isolates are high (ranging from 10-50%) and are geographically diverse (North America and Europe).  In the US there was only one H1 case that was not pandemic H1 for the entire country in 2010 prior to the most recent reports.

However, none of the sites listing non-pandemic H1 provide any sequence or antigenic characterization data.  The most recent seasonal H1 sequence at GISAID is from China in March 2010, confirming the lack of detection in 2010 prior to recent reports.  The current flunet report on samples from China (week 43) shows no seasonal H1.

Thus, more information on the seasonal H1 in the US, Canada, and Europe would be useful.

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