Molecular epidemiology of influenza

  • C. Scholtissek
Conference paper


The genome of the influenza A viruses comprises eight single-stranded RNA segments, and this property makes genetic reassortment after double infection of a host with two different influenza A strains possible. Nature takes advantage of genetic reassortment during antigenic shift creating new pandemic strains. After concurrent infection of a host with both avian and human strains, the hemagglutinin gene of the human virus may be replaced by the allelic gene of the avian virus. This reassortment leads to a human virus strain that has avian hemagglutinin molecules on its surface, significant because the human population lacks neutralizing antibodies to this new glycoprotein. The Hong Kong pandemic of 1968 resulted from just such an event.


Influenza Virus Avian Influenza Avian Influenza Virus Swine Influenza Human Strain 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Claas ECJ, Kawaoka Y, De Jong JC, Masurel N, Webster RG (1994) Infection of children with avian-human reassortant influenza virus from pigs in Europe. Virology 204: 433–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hinshaw VS, Webster RG (1982) The natural history of influenza A viruses. In: Bear AS (ed) Basic and applied influenza research. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 79–104Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kawaoka Y, Krauss S, Webster RG (1989) Avian-to-human transmission of the PB1 gene of influenza A virus in the 1957 and 1968 pandemics. J Virol 63: 4603–4608PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ludwig S, Stitz L, Planz O, Van H, Fitch WM, Scholtissek C (1995) European swine virus as a possible source for the next influenza pandemic? Virology 212: 555–561PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rott R, Orlich M, Scholtissek C (1979) Correlation of pathogenicity and gene constellation of influenza A viruses. III Non-pathogenic recombinants derived from highly pathogenic parent strains. J Gen Virol 44: 471–477PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Scholtissek C, Rott R, Orlich M, Harms E, Rohde W (1977) Correlation of pathogenicity and gene constellation of an influenza A virus (fowl plague). I: Exchange of a single gene. Virology 81: 74–80PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Scholtissek C, Rohde W, von Hoyningen V, Rott R (1978) On the origin of the human influenza virus subtypes H2N2 and H3N2. Virology 87: 13–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Scholtissek C, Naylor E (1988) Fish farming and influenza pandemics. Nature 331: 215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Scholtissek C, Ludwig S, Fitch WM (1993) Analysis of influenza A virus nucleoproteins for the assessment of molecular genetic mechanisms leading to new phylogenetic virus lineages. Arch Virol 131: 237–250PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schultz U, Fitch WM, Ludwig S, Mandler J, Scholtissek C (1991) Evolution of pig influenza viruses. Virology 183: 61–73PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Suárez P, Valcácel J, Ortín J (1992) Heterogeneity of the mutation rates of influenza A viruses. Isolation of mutator mutants. J Virol 66: 2491–2494PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Webster RG, Bean WJ, Gorman TO, Chambers TM, Kawaoka Y (1992) Evolution and ecology of influenza A viruses. Microbiol Rev 56: 152–179PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Scholtissek
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of VirologyJustus-Liebig-Universitat GiessenGiessenFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations