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Keywords:

  • respiratory infection;
  • multiplex RT-PCR assay;
  • phylogenetic analysis

Abstract

From November 2004 to April 2007, specimens were obtained from 2,281 patients with acute respiratory tract illness in Normandy, France. Eighteen strains of influenza C virus were detected in these samples using a combined tissue culture/RT-PCR diagnostic method. Most patients with influenza C virus infection (13/18) were infants or young children (<2 years of age). The most frequent symptoms were fever and cough, and the clinical presentation of influenza C virus infection was similar to that of other respiratory viruses. Thirteen of the 18 infected patients were hospitalized; 3 presented with a severe lower respiratory infection. The hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) gene of 10 isolates was sequenced to determine the lineages of the circulating influenza C viruses. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that most of the isolated strains had an HE gene belonging to the C/Yamagata/26/81-related lineage. These results show that influenza C virus regularly circulates in Normandy and generally causes a mild upper respiratory infection. Because the differential clinical diagnosis of influenza C virus infection is not always easy, it is important to identify viral strains for both patient management and epidemiological purposes. J. Med. Virol. 80:1441–1446, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.