The 2015 Outbreak of Severe Influenza in Kashmir, North India: Emergence of a New Clade of A/H1n1 Influenza Virus

Introduction Following the initial outbreak of A/H1N1pdm09 in 2009-10, periodic resurgences of the pandemic influenza virus have been reported from India with variable morbidity and mortality. 1, 2 We have earlier reported a recrudescence of A/H1N1pdm09 in 2012-13 in Kashmir region of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir where influenza is an important cause of acute respiratory infections during the winter months. 3, 4 During the initial months of 2015, an unusual increase in influenza A/H1N1pdm09 activity was observed thoughout India with more than 39000 cases and about 3000 deaths. 5 While the activity was usual for the temperate northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, it was unusual for the rest of the country which along with a more tropical geography traditionally witnesses high activity during summers coinciding with the rains of the monsoons. 1 Two scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA in an in silico analysis of retrieved sequences of 2014 from Genbank reported that the higher virulence of the A/H1N1pdm09 in 2015 was attributable to K166Q, D225N and T200A mutations in the HA region of the amino acid sequences in the receptor binding site of A/H1N1pdm09.6 More recently, studies from central, 7 and Eastern India,8 have reported a drift in the A/H1N1pdm09 virus and emergence of different clade of the virus which became the dominant circulating strain in consonance with similar trends across the globe. We herewith report on the 2015 outb...
Source: PLOS Currents Outbreaks - Category: Epidemiology Authors: Source Type: research

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