Orthomyxoviridae: The Influenza Viruses

  • Alan Kendal
  • Maurice W. Harmon


Disease: Influenza, “flu,” “grippe.”

Etiologic Agents: Influenza type A (subtypes H1N1, H2N2, H3N2), type B, and type C.

Source: Human to human transmission. Occasionally transmitted from swine. Animal reservoirs may harbor viruses which, through genetic reassortant, become infectious for humans.

Clinical Manifestations: Rapid onset of malaise, fever, and myalgia, usually with nonproductive cough or sore throat. May often be subclinical.

Pathology: Cell necrosis and sloughing of ciliated columnar epithelium of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Complications include primary viral pneumonia and secondary bacterial pneumonia. Occasionally other complications such as myositis, myocarditis, and encephalitis occur.

Laboratory Diagnosis: Virus isolation from upper or lower respiratory tract. Antibody titer rise when acute-phase and convalescent-phase serum are tested by hemagglutination- inhibition, neutralization, enzyme immunoassay, or complement fixation.

Epidemiology: Worldwide. Seasonal in temperate climates; November to April in Northern Hemisphere and May to October in Southern Hemisphere. May be endemic in tropical areas.

Treatment: Oral amantadine or rimantadine if administered within 48 h of onset for influenza A only. Experimentally, aerosolized ribavirin for types A and B. Aspirin (salicylates) should be avoided in children younger than 19 years to reduce risk of Reye–s syndrome.

Prevention and Control: Inactivated vaccine (many countries) or live attenuated vaccine (USSR), amantadine and rimantadine. In institutions, vaccine efficacy is influenced by vaccination rate.


Influenza Virus Sialic Acid Avian Influenza Virus Influenza Infection Fluorescent Antibody 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Kendal
  • Maurice W. Harmon

There are no affiliations available

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