Detection of influenza C virus but not influenza D virus in Scottish respiratory samples.
Smith DB., Gaunt ER., Digard P., Templeton K., Simmonds P.
BACKGROUND: A newly proposed genus of influenza virus (influenza D) is associated with respiratory disease in pigs and cattle. The novel virus is most closely related to human influenza C virus and can infect ferrets but infection has not been reported in humans. OBJECTIVES: To ascertain if influenza D virus can be detected retrospectively in patient respiratory samples. STUDY DESIGN: 3300 human respiratory samples from Edinburgh, Scotland, covering the period 2006-2008, were screened in pools of 10 by RT-PCR using primers capable of detecting both influenza C and D viruses. RESULTS: Influenza D was not detected in any sample. Influenza C was present in 6 samples (0.2%), compared with frequencies of 3.3% and 0.9% for influenza A and B viruses from RT-PCR testing of respiratory samples over the same period. Influenza C virus was detected in samples from individuals <2 years or >45 years old, with cases occurring throughout the year. Phylogenetic analysis of nearly complete sequences of all seven segments revealed the presence of multiple, reassortant lineages. CONCLUSION: We were unable to detect viruses related to influenza D virus in human respiratory samples. Influenza C virus was less prevalent than influenza A and B viruses, was associated with mild disease in the young (<2 years) and old (>45 years) and comprised multiple, reassortant lineages. Inclusion of influenza C virus as part of a diagnostic testing panel for respiratory infections would be of limited additional value.