, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 12-17
Date: 25 Mar 2012

Pandemic Influenza A H1N1 (2009) Virus: Lessons from the Past and Implications for the Future

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The recent pandemic by novel influenza A (H1N1) 2009 (pH1N1) virus is an emerging viral infection, being of significant international concern and requires intensive research. The virus spread in pandemic proportions, and continues to be in the post-pandemic phase. Since, the pH1N1 is still circulating in the community, monitoring is required during the post-pandemic period. The pH1N1 defied influenza seasonality and rapidly became dominant over the seasonal influenza viruses. This new strain was antigenically different from the seasonal H1N1 influenza strains due to the genetic re-assortment. Surprisingly, this new reassortant virus emerged at the end of influenza season, caused a sudden toll of mild illness and is now co-circulating with the seasonal strains. The recent outbreak of pH1N1 consolidates the fact that a new reassortant virus may have originated in animal reservoirs and got transferred to human who were in close contact with these animals. There is a continued need for multisite surveillance to detect potentially dangerous influenza strains, which may emerge and establish themselves in human population. This review is an attempt to address the lessons learnt from the recent influenza pandemic and the future implications for prevention and control of influenza.