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Genetic diversity and molecular analysis of human influenza virus among pilgrims during Hajj

El-Kafrawy, SA; Alsayed, SM; Faizo, AA; Bajrai, LH; Uthman, NA; Alsaeed, MS; Hassan, AM; ... Azhar, EI; + view all (2024) Genetic diversity and molecular analysis of human influenza virus among pilgrims during Hajj. Heliyon , 10 (1) , Article e23027. 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e23027. Green open access

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Abstract

The risk of transmission of respiratory tract infections is considerably enhanced at mass gathering (MG) religious events. Hajj is an annual Islamic MG event with approximately 3 million Muslim pilgrims from over 180 countries concentrated in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of influenza viruses circulating among pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage. We performed a cross-sectional analytical study where nasopharyngeal swabs (NPs) from pilgrims with respiratory tract illnesses presenting to healthcare facilities during the 2019 Hajj were screened for influenza viruses. Influenza A subtypes and influenza B lineages were determined by multiplex RT–PCR for positive influenza samples. The phylogenetic analysis was carried out for the hemagglutination (HA) gene. Out of 185 nasopharyngeal samples, 54 were positive for the human influenza virus. Of these, 27 were influenza A H1N1 and 19 H3N2, 4 were untypable influenza A, and 4 were influenza B. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the H1N1 and H3N2 strains differentiated into different and independent genetic groups and formed close clusters with selected strains of influenza viruses from various locations. To conclude, this study demonstrates a high genetic diversity of circulating influenza A subtypes among pilgrims during the Hajj Season. There is a need for further larger studies to investigate in-depth the genetic characteristics of influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses during Hajj seasons.

Type: Article
Title: Genetic diversity and molecular analysis of human influenza virus among pilgrims during Hajj
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e23027
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e23027
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Influenza, H1N1, H3N2, Hajj, mass gathering, Genetic diversity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10184778
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