Authors: Seungwon Kim*, University of Iowa, Margaret Carrel, University of Iowa
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: Landscape genetics, Phylogeography, Influenza
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon C3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
In February 2009, an antigenically novel strain of influenza A H1N1 virus emerged in Mexico and spread worldwide. The Chinese government organized the National Influenza Surveillance Network to monitor and control H1N1 viral transmission. Despite of these efforts, however, 73,000 cases were reported during the pandemic. Human transport networks in China may be responsible for the rapid spread of the virus during the active phase of the pandemic, yet the underlying spatial process of viral diffusion remains largely unclear. We applied a landscape genetics approach to identify the spatial patterns of the spread of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus in mainland China. The Mantel correlogram results indicate that the genetic distance and their geographic distance between samples generally follow isolation-by-distance patterns. However, pairs of isolates sampled in distant locations show positive correlation, implying that the H1N1 viruses travel long distances through air transport networks in short amounts of time and without changing genetically. The BSSVS model results show the most significant gene flows connect Beijing to other regions, indicating that Beijing was the epicenter of the 2009 pandemic. This research, combining landscape genetics and phylogeography, is used to show how H1N1 influenza patterns in China followed a hierarchical and then expansion diffusion model and provide insight into how influenza behaves when it is introduced into China rather than emerging from China as is often the case.