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New Influenza Threat?

Graeme Price g.e.price at bham.ac.uk
Fri Jan 19 10:35:32 EST 1996

In article <DLEHxo.98o at rockyd.rockefeller.edu>, Sean Stevens
<stevens at rockvax.rockefeller.edu> wrote:

> Dear Virology Folks,
>         I have recently heard in the media (CNN) of a perhaps newer and more 
> deadly strain of influenza brewing in rural China. Unfortunately, 
> medline searches drew blanks. Is this true, or is it more of the TV 
> emerging plague hype? Just trying to stimulate some more virology-based 
> discussions.
>         Thanks.
> Sean Stevens
> stevens at rockvax.rockefeller.edu 

This one hasn't gotten over the atlantic yet, but there was nothing in the
WHO influenza epidemiological report of 17th January (available on the net
at http://www.who.ch/programmes/emc/flu/flu.htm). I also tried the CNN web
site search option and nothing there either. However, there was a highly
virulent strain circulating in chinese horses a few years ago
[A/equine/Jilin/1/89 (H3N8)] but this was non-infectious for humans. There
does seem to be something about new strains of influenza originating in
China though. As far as I can recall the best guess as to why this is has
something to do with the proximity of man to a large number of other
species (ducks, pigs, horses etc.) in rural China. There is also some
evidence that pigs can act as mixing vessels for influenza viruses. The
whole thing gets rather nicely reviewed in Webster et al. (1992) Evolution
and Ecology of influenza A viruses. Microbiological Reviews 56(1) 152-179
and Webster et al. (1993) Influenza - a model of an emerging virus
disease. Intervirology 35; 16-25.


Graeme Price
Microbial Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Group, 
School of Biological Sciences, Biology West Building,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
West Midlands, B15 2TT.
United Kingdom.

Tel. (+44) (0)121 414 6555
Fax. (+44) (0)121 414 6557
E-mail g.e.price at bham.ac.uk

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