The Journal of infection

Influenza C virus high seroprevalence rates observed in 3 different population groups.

PMID 24704348


The epidemiology of Influenza C virus (FLUCV) infections remains poorly characterised. Here, we have examined the age- and location-specific seroprevalence of antibodies against FLUCV in 1441 sera from metropolitan continental France (Marseille), South-West Indian Ocean French territories (Reunion Island) and United-Kingdom (Edinburgh) using a combination of haemagglutination inhibition, virus neutralisation and ELISA assays. Our results show that immunity to FLUCV is common in all locations studied (global seroprevalence values >50%) and that the first immunising contacts generally occur early in life (i.e., in the 0-4 year-old age group). The latter item is further supported by the detection of FLUCV RNA by RT-PCR in naso-pharyngeal samples collected in patient attending the Emergency Room of the Public hospitals of Marseille, France with a large majority of children under 10 years-old: 17 (60.7%) in children ≤3 yo, 10 (35.7%) in the 4-10 yo age group and 1 (3.6%) in an adult (49yo). The temporal distribution of cases was atypical with regard to influenza (a large proportion of cases occurred in spring and summer) and the clinical presentation was diverse, including but being not limited to classical Influenza-like-Ilnesses. Altogether, our results indicate an intense circulation of FLUCV in the different study areas and an early occurrence of infection in human life. Flu C appears to be a widely under-diagnosed and under-studied human paediatric disease that obviously deserves further clinical and epidemiological characterisation.