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First introduction of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 and detection of respiratory viruses in pediatric patients in Central African Republic

Emmanuel Nakouné12, Vianney Tricou2, Alexandre Manirakiza3, Francis Komoyo1, Benjamin Selekon1, Jean Chrysostome Gody4, Kathleen Victoir5, Philippe Buchy6 and Mirdad Kazanji2*

Author Affiliations

1 National Influenza Centre, Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Bangui, Central African Republic

2 Virology department, Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Bangui, Central African Republic

3 Epidemiology Unit, Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Bangui, Central African Republic

4 Complexe Pédiatrique de Bangui, Bangui, Central African Republic

5 International Division, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

6 Virology Unit, Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Virology Journal 2013, 10:49  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-49

Published: 8 February 2013



Acute viral respiratory illnesses in children in sub-Saharan Africa have received relatively little attention, although they are much more frequent causes of morbidity and mortality than in developed countries. Active surveillance is essential to identify the causative agents and to improve clinical management, especially in the context of possible circulation of pandemic viruses.


A prospective study was conducted in the Central African Republic (CAR) between January and December 2010 among infants and children aged 0–15 years attending sentinel sites for influenza-like illness or acute respiratory illness. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected, and one-step real-time and multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction were used to detect respiratory viruses. Respiratory viruses were detected in 49 of the 329 (14.9%) nasopharyngeal samples: 29 (8.8%) contained influenza viruses (5 (1.5%) had pandemic influenza A/H1N1 virus and 24 (7.3%) had influenza B viruses), 11 (3.3%) contained parainfluenza viruses types 1 and 3 and 9 (2.7%) contained human respiratory syncytial virus. Most cases were detected during the rainy season in the CAR. Analysis of the amplicon sequences confirmed the identity of each detected virus.


The influenza surveillance system in the CAR has provided valuable data on the seasonality of influenza and the circulation of other respiratory viruses. Our network could therefore play a valuable role in the prevention and control of influenza epidemics in the CAR.

Molecular diagnosis; Acute respiratory illness; Pandemic influenza A/H1N1 2009; Influenza B; Respiratory syncytial virus; Parainfluenza virus; Pediatric patients