Journal: (2012) PLoS ONE 7(9): e45807.
Directorate: Christophe Mérieux Laboratory and GABRIEL
To determine the role of the pandemic influenza A/H1N1 2009 (A/H1N1 2009pdm) in acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) and its impact on the epidemic of seasonal influenza viruses and other common respiratory viruses, nasal and throat swabs taken from 7,776 patients with suspected viral ARTIs from 2006 through 2010 in Beijing, China were screened by real-time PCR for influenza virus typing and subtyping and by multiplex or single PCR tests for other common respiratory viruses. We observed a distinctive dual peak pattern of influenza epidemic during the A/H1N1 2009pdm in Beijing, China, which was formed by the A/H1N1 2009pdm, and a subsequent influenza B epidemic in year 2009/2010. Our analysis also shows a small peak formed by a seasonal H3N2 epidemic prior to the A/H1N1 2009pdm peak. Parallel detection of multiple respiratory viruses shows that the epidemic of common respiratory viruses, except human rhinovirus, was delayed during the pandemic of the A/H1N1 2009pdm. The H1N1 2009pdm mainly caused upper respiratory tract infections in the sampled patients; patients infected with H1N1 2009pdm had a higher percentage of cough than those infected with seasonal influenza or other respiratory viruses. Our findings indicate that A/H1N1 2009pdm and other respiratory viruses except human rhinovirus could interfere with each other during their transmission between human beings. Understanding the mechanisms and effects of such interference is needed for effective control of future influenza epidemics.