Multiyear Persistence of 2 Pandemic A/H1N1 Influenza Virus Lineages in West Africa

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Abstract

Our understanding of the global ecology of influenza viruses is impeded by historically low levels of viral surveillance in Africa. Increased genetic sequencing of African A/H1N1 pandemic influenza viruses during 2009–2013 revealed multiyear persistence of 2 viral lineages within West Africa, raising questions about the roles of reduced air traffic and the asynchrony of seasonal influenza epidemics among West African countries in the evolution of independent lineages. The potential for novel influenza virus lineages to evolve within Africa warrants intensified influenza surveillance in Africa and other understudied areas.

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