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Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Aug;11(8):1186-91.

Influenza A (H3N2) outbreak, Nepal.

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Air Force Institute for Operational Health, Brooks City Base, San Antonio, Texas 78235, USA.


In July 2004, an outbreak of influenza A (H3N2) was detected at 3 Bhutanese refugee camps in southeastern Nepal. Hemagglutination inhibition showed that approximately 40% of the viruses from this outbreak were antigenically distinct from the A/Wyoming/3/03 vaccine strain. Four amino acid differences were observed in most of the 26 isolates compared with the A/Wyoming/3/2003 vaccine strain. All 4 substitutions are located within or adjacent to known antibody-binding sites. Several isolates showed a lysine-to-asparagine substitution at position 145 (K145N) in the hemagglutinin molecule, which may be noteworthy since position 145 is located within a glycosylation site and adjacent to an antibody-binding site. H3N2 viruses continue to drift from the vaccine strain and may remain as the dominant strains during the 2005-2006 influenza season. Thus, the 2005-2006 Northern Hemisphere vaccine strain was changed to A/California/7/2004, a virus with all 4 amino acid substitutions observed in these Nepalese isolates.

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