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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.

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The authors are grateful to the patients who agreed to participate in this study.


This work was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant numbers 15K19228 and 18K17353), a Grant-in-Aid for Environmental Health Research from Tottori Prefecture, and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Infection Control and Prevention by the International Platform for Dryland Research and Education, Tottori University.

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Correspondence to Seiji Kageyama.

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The authors report no conflict of interest.

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The present study was conducted with the approval and under the control of the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Japan (no. 1981). All procedures involving human participants were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Sample collection was conducted after obtaining informed consent from patients in collaborating medical facilities consisting of a hospital and three clinics. Samples were then shipped to the laboratory without patient identification.

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Tsuneki-Tokunaga, A., Kondo, T., Kanai, K. et al. Local spread of influenza A (H1N1) viruses without a mutation for the maximum duration of an epidemic season in Japan. Arch Virol 167, 195–199 (2022).

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