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  • 2015atkinsonmsc

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Influenza C: a pilot study investigating the prevalence in Lancaster of a neglected respiratory virus

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

  • Kate Atkinson
Publication date2015
Number of pages157
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Influenza C is a virus found throughout the world that can cause respiratory illness, ranging from mild colds to pneumonias. Typically affecting younger children, it is a virus which can cause considerable illness and complications, and yet research into the virus is lacking. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of influenza C in Lancaster, and to determine the current seropositivity levels in the study population. 148 participants were recruited to the study – 77 asymptomatic and 71 symptomatic. Participants were asked to provide a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab and/or a serum sample. The swabs were analysed via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the serum samples by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and, of the samples tested via ELISA, 106 were positive (82%) and 23 were negative. Two swab samples also appeared positive for influenza C following PCR and so were sent for deep sequencing. A further seven mixed cDNA samples were also sent for deep sequencing to allow for comparison between different population groups etc. Overall, it was found that influenza C is prevalent in the Lancaster area, with the entire study population having some level of exposure to the virus previously, although only 82% of participants met the threshold to be classed as seropositive, and two participants were actively carrying the live influenza C virus. Further work needs to be done to analyse the seasonality of the virus and discover whether the virus has the same impact in the UK as it does in other parts of the world. As positive samples have been found and most of the population have influenza C antibodies, it provides a strong foundation for future work.