Local spread of influenza A (H1N1) viruses without a mutation for the maximum duration of an epidemic season in Japan

Close observation of the local transmission of influenza A(H1N1) viruses enabled an estimate of the length of time the virus was transmitted without a mutation. Of 4,448 isolates from 11 consecutive years, 237 isolates could be categorized into 57 strain groups with identical hemagglutinin genes, which were monitored for the entire duration of an epidemic season. In addition, 35 isolates with identical sequences were identified at the study site and in other countries within 147 days. Consequently, it can be postulated that once an influenza virus enters a temperate region, the strain rarely mutates before the end of the season.