URL path: Index page // Influenza Virus A, Molecular Detection

Influenza Virus A, Molecular Detection

The molecular test for the presence of influenza type A virus is used for the rapid and accurate laboratory confirmation of the infection. This screening is useful for early documentation of influenza, which allows rapid implementation of appropriate treatment and prevention measures.

More Information

Influenza virus type A is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness in humans and other animals. It belongs to the Orthomyxoviridae family and is known for its ability to undergo genetic changes, leading to the emergence of new strains and the potential for pandemics.

Subtypes and Strains: Influenza A viruses are categorized into different subtypes based on the variations of two proteins on their surface, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). There are 18 known HA subtypes and 11 known NA subtypes. Different combinations of these subtypes give rise to specific strains of influenza A, such as H1N1 or H3N2.

Genetic Variability: Influenza A viruses have a high mutation rate, which allows them to evolve rapidly. This genetic variability can result in two main types of changes: antigenic drift and antigenic shift.

  • Antigenic Drift: This is a gradual change in the genetic makeup of the virus, resulting in minor variations in the HA and NA proteins. These changes occur over time and are responsible for seasonal influenza outbreaks.
  • Antigenic Shift: This is a more significant genetic reassortment that occurs when two or more different strains of influenza A viruses infect the same host. This can lead to the emergence of novel subtypes that humans may have limited or no immunity against, potentially causing pandemics.

Host Range: Influenza A viruses can infect a wide range of hosts, including humans, birds, pigs, horses, and other animals. Birds, particularly wild waterfowl, are considered the natural reservoir for influenza A viruses. Some strains, such as avian influenza (bird flu), can cause severe illness and have the potential to spread to humans.

Transmission: Influenza A is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the nose, mouth, or eyes.

Symptoms: The symptoms of influenza A are similar to other types of influenza and can vary in severity. Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, headache, and sometimes respiratory distress. In severe cases, complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and worsening of existing medical conditions can occur.

Prevention and Treatment: Annual vaccination is recommended to prevent influenza A infection. The vaccine is designed to target the most prevalent strains and provide immunity against them. Antiviral medications, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), can be prescribed to treat influenza A infections, particularly for individuals at higher risk of complications or those with severe symptoms.

Additional information
Share it