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Researchers May Have Created A H1N1 Flu Strain Capable Of Evading The Immune System

Researchers May Have Created A H1N1 Flu Strain Capable Of Evading The Immune System | Influenza | Scoop.it
Back in June, we heard of a controversial study conducted by a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers that generated an influenza virus with similar characteristics to the infamous 1918 pandemic flu virus. The research was criticized by many and branded as crazy, foolish and dangerous by experts.
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PLOS Pathogens: Environmental Predictors of Seasonal Influenza Epidemics across Temperate and Tropical Climates

PLOS Pathogens: Environmental Predictors of Seasonal Influenza Epidemics across Temperate and Tropical Climates | Influenza | Scoop.it

Human influenza infections exhibit a strong seasonal cycle in temperate regions. Recent laboratory and epidemiological evidence suggests that low specific humidity conditions facilitate the airborne survival and transmission of the influenza virus in temperate regions, resulting in annual winter epidemics. However, this relationship is unlikely to account for the epidemiology of influenza in tropical and subtropical regions where epidemics often occur during the rainy season or transmit year-round without a well-defined season. We assessed the role of specific humidity and other local climatic variables on influenza virus seasonality by modeling epidemiological and climatic information from 78 study sites sampled globally. We substantiated that there are two types of environmental conditions associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: “cold-dry” and “humid-rainy”. For sites where monthly average specific humidity or temperature decreases below thresholds of approximately 11–12 g/kg and 18–21°C during the year, influenza activity peaks during the cold-dry season (i.e., winter) when specific humidity and temperature are at minimal levels. For sites where specific humidity and temperature do not decrease below these thresholds, seasonal influenza activity is more likely to peak in months when average precipitation totals are maximal and greater than 150 mm per month. These findings provide a simple climate-based model rooted in empirical data that accounts for the diversity of seasonal influenza patterns observed across temperate, subtropical and tropical climates.


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Ed Rybicki's curator insight, March 18, 2013 5:33 AM

This is really quite a big deal: I blogged recently on the first paper that explored this notion in detail; here we see that paper vindicated, and new data presented.

 

It is interesting that the virus should have evolved to be spread in this way: in drier cold air in temperate climates, and in warm wet air in more tropical climes.  It also very nicely explains seasonality in influenza transmission.

 

Now, let's do something ABOUT it!

Carl Shiu's comment, March 19, 2013 11:16 AM
Interesting data. In tropical climes, I wonder if this phenomenon is associated with the overcrowding of shelters during intense rainstorms. A temporary increase in population density during these events would likely facilitate increased rates of person-person transmission.
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Influenza A jumped from horse to camel - Futurity: Research News

Influenza A jumped from horse to camel - Futurity: Research News | Influenza | Scoop.it
Influenza A jumped from horse to camel Futurity: Research News Although there is no immediate risk, the inter-mammalian transmission of the virus is a major concern for public health researchers interested in controlling the threat of pandemic...
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