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J Med Virol. 2008 Aug;80(8):1441-6. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21218.

Study of influenza C virus infection in France.

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Laboratory of Virology, University Hospital, Avenue Georges Clemenceau, Caen Cedex, France.


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.

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