Kavunga-Membo H, etc.,al. Epidemiology of circulating human influenza viruses from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2015. PLoS One. 2018 Sep 28;13(9):e0203995
The establishment of the influenza sentinel surveillance system in Kinshasa, Bas Congo, Maniema, Katanga, and Kasai Provinces allowed generation of important data on the molecular epidemiology of human influenza viruses circulating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, some challenges still exist, including the need for extending the influenza surveillance to more provinces. This study describes the pattern of influenza virus circulating in DRC during 2015.
Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from January to December 2015 from outpatients with influenza-like illness (ILI) and in all hospitalized patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI). Molecular analysis was done to determine influenza type and subtype at the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Kinshasa using real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR). Analysis of antiviral resistance by enzyme inhibition assay and nucleotide sequencing was performed by the Collaborating center in the USA (CDC, Atlanta).
Out of 2,376 nasopharyngeal swabs collected from patients, 218 (9.1%) were positive for influenza virus. Among the positive samples, 149 were characterized as influenza virus type A (Flu A), 67 as type B (Flu B) and 2 mixed infections (Flu A and B). Flu A subtypes detected were H3N2 and H1N1. The Yamagata strain of Flu B was detected among patients in the country. Individuals aged between 5 and 14 years accounted for the largest age group affected by influenza virus. All influenza viruses detected were found to be sensitive to antiviral drugs such as oseltamivar, zanamivir, peramivir and laninamivar.
The present study documented the possible involvement of both circulation of Flu A and B viruses in human respiratory infection in certain DRC provinces during 2015. This study emphasises the need to extend the influenza surveillance to other provinces for a better understanding of the epidemiology of influenza in DRC. It is envisioned that such a system would lead to improved disease control and patient management.
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