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Epidemiologist: flu virus A/H1N1 dominates in all countries of northern hemisphere

January 29, 1:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Yelena Burtseva, a laboratory chief at the Moscow-based Institute of Epidemics and Microbiology, indicated it was too early yet to make conclusions about the activity of the virus or its new mutations
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MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Epidemics experts are unable to forecast with a 100% degree of assuredness what strain of the virus will cause an epidemic of flu in the next season, as strains are mutating, while the virus season of 2016 is marked by the domination of the A/H1N1 strain across the entire northern hemisphere, Yelena Burtseva, a laboratory chief at the Moscow-based Institute of Epidemics and Microbiology told reporters on Thursday.

"No one will ever tell you precisely what strain of virus can cause an epidemic, all the more so the experience of the past years gained in the U.S. showed (the spread of) just one strain," she said. "But Russia is a big country and here we have the same strain as in the European countries spreading to the west of the Urals and the American-type strain spreading in the Far East."

"Generally speaking, the A/H1N1 virus dominates in all countries of the northern hemisphere during this season," Burtseva said.

She indicated it was too early yet to make conclusions about the activity of the virus or its new mutations as the epidemic was not past its peak yet.

As new strains of the virus appear during seasonal epidemics, experts are watching how active one or another strain is, what share it takes up in the general population, and whether is gets a long-term place in the family of strains.

"Geneticists have established mutations that have occurred in a certain zone inside a pathogenic protein of the virus, which predetermines how complicated the disease is,"she said. "Russian scientists will get their own data somewhat later."

She admitted that the figures on the incidence of acute respiratory diseases and flu in Russia for 2008 and 2009 were bigger than this year.

The experts of the World Health Organization are going to gather in February and to decide on the vaccines that will be recommended for troubleshooting of the flu in the northern hemisphere during the next virus season, Burtseva said.

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