The role of punctuated evolution in the pathogenicity of influenza viruses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Influenza is an acute respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. Evolutionarily, all influenza viruses are zoonoses, arising in the animal reservoir and spilling over into the human population. Several times a century, one of these zoonotic events results in a new influenza virus lineage becoming established in humans and circulating for years or decades as an endemic strain. The worldwide pandemic that occurs shortly after the nascent virus becomes established can have a profound impact on morbidity and mortality. Because influenza viruses continually evolve and the illness they engender can vary considerably based on characteristics of the strain, the weather, other circulating or endemic pathogens, as well as the number of susceptible hosts, the impact of each season on human health is unpredictable. Over time, the general pattern is for pandemic strains to adapt and gradually take on characteristics of seasonal strains with lower virulence and a diminished synergism with bacterial pathogens. Study of this punctuated evolution yields a number of insights into the overall pathogenicity of influenza viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberEI10-0001-2015
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Fingerprint

influenza
pathogenicity
Orthomyxoviridae
Virulence
virus
Zoonoses
Pandemics
pathogen
Weather
Acute Disease
respiratory disease
synergism
Human Influenza
morbidity
virulence
Viruses
Morbidity
Mortality
weather
Health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

The role of punctuated evolution in the pathogenicity of influenza viruses. / Mccullers, Jonathan.

In: Microbiology Spectrum, Vol. 4, No. 2, EI10-0001-2015, 01.01.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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