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Emergence and dynamics of influenza super-strains

  • Author(s): Coburn, Brian J
  • Cosner, Chris
  • Ruan, Shigui
  • et al.
Abstract

Abstract Background Influenza super-strains can emerge through recombination of strains from birds, pigs, and humans. However, once a new recombinant strain emerges, it is not clear whether the strain is capable of sustaining an outbreak. In certain cases, such strains have caused major influenza pandemics. Methods Here we develop a multi-host (i.e., birds, pigs, and humans) and multi-strain model of influenza to analyze the outcome of emergent strains. In the model, pigs act as “mixing vessels” for avian and human strains and can produce super-strains from genetic recombination. Results We find that epidemiological outcomes are predicted by three factors: (i) contact between pigs and humans, (ii) transmissibility of the super-strain in humans, and (iii) transmissibility from pigs to humans. Specifically, outbreaks will reoccur when the super-strain intections are less frequent between humans (e.g., R0=1.4) but grequent from pigs to humans, and a large-scale outbreak followed by successively damping outbreaks will occur when human transmissibility is high (e.g., R0=2.3). The average time between the initial outbreak and the first resurgence varies from 41 to 82 years. We determine the largest outbreak will occur when 2.3

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