Predictors of influenza a molecular viral shedding in Hutterite communities
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BACKGROUND: Patterns of influenza molecular viral shedding following influenza infection have been well established; predictors of viral shedding however remain uncertain. OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine factors associated with peak molecular viral load, duration of shedding, and viral area under the curve (AUC) in children and adult Hutterite colony members with laboratory-confirmed influenza. METHODS: A cohort study was conducted in Hutterite colonies in Alberta, Canada. Flocked nasal swabs were collected during three influenza seasons (2007-2008 to 2009-2010) from both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals infected with influenza. Samples were tested by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction for influenza A and influenza B, and the viral load was determined for influenza A-positive samples. RESULTS: For seasonal H1N1, younger age was associated with a larger AUC, female sex was associated with decreased peak viral load and reduced viral shedding duration, while the presence of comorbidity was associated with increased peak viral load. For H3N2, younger age was associated with increased peak viral load and increased AUC. For pandemic H1N1, younger age was associated with increased peak viral load and increased viral AUC, female sex was associated with reduced peak viral load, while inapparent infection was associated with reduced peak viral load, reduced viral shedding duration, and reduced viral AUC. CONCLUSIONS: Patterns of molecular viral shedding vary by age, sex, comorbidity, and the presence of symptoms. Predictor variables vary by influenza A subtype.
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