2008, Number 3
Rev Biomed 2008; 19 (3)
Acosta-Herrera B, Piñón A, Valdés O, Savón C, Goyenechea A, González G, Oropesa-Fernández S, González G, Hernández B
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ABSTRACTIntroduction. Influenza, the most contagious of the Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) is considered an emergent and re-emergent disease due to a wide range of variants among the world population. Since 1997 Avian Influenza virus (H5N1) is reported in the human population of various countries and the apparent endemic feature of this Southeast Asian virus type will continue to be a risk for the world public health. The international community needs to be committed and prepared to improve and strengthen ahead some of the deficiencies of surveillance and control systems at national level. One of the main issues to be considered is the detection of new virus variants before the pandemic this will allow time of preparation for the proper response.
Materials and Methods. A total of 309 samples from patients with clinical diagnosis of ARI were processed during 2005-2006 using a scheme of molecular diagnosis. Four RT-PCR assays were implemented for the virological diagnosis of ARI caused by influenza virus.
Results. Samples distribution was, 65.6% of the samples belonged to patients under 18 years old, 21.35% were from ambulatory patients, 18.4% from hospitalized patients and 60.1% from units belonging to the sentinel network. Of the total of the processed samples, 13 (4.2 %) were positive to influenza virus type B, 6 (1.9 %) to influenza virus type A and 4 (1.2 %) to influenza virus C. Three (50.0 %) of the positive samples to influenza type A were H3/N2 subtype virus and three could not be subtyped (50.0 %).
Discussion. The advances in the molecular biology have revolutionized the biological sciences. At present, those tools are applied in studies of influenza virus to try to identify the frequent causes of lethal influenza epidemics. Reference laboratories worldwide have implemented the powerful tools of molecular biology for surveillance and control strategies, our laboratory is one to them.
During 2005-2006 the influenza virus type B showed predominance of frequent circulation in Cuba. The results of this study show that the National Influenza Centre of Cuba has advanced diagnostic tools to cope with the surveillance of the ARIs at current conditions and is prepared to give response to the threatening influenza pandemic. However; it is necessary to continue to strengthen the national surveillance systems in order to increase the knowledge of the circulating virus in tropical countries.