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March 13, 1995

Amantadine-Resistant Influenza A in Nursing Homes: Identification of a Resistant Virus Prior to Drug Use

Author Affiliations

From the Health Care Financing Administration, Region X, Seattle, Wash (Dr Houck); the Influenza Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga (Mr Hemphill and Dr Cox); the Virology Laboratory, Public Health Laboratories, Washington State Department of Health, Seattle (Mr LaCroix), and the Yakima (Wash) Health District (Ms Hirsh).

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(5):533-537. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430050113012

Background:  Amantadine hydrochloride and rimantadine hydrochloride have been used for treatment and prevention of influenza A infection in nursing home residents. Outbreaks of influenza A (H3N2) virus infection occurred in three nursing homes in Yakima County, Washington, during January 1992. Amantadine was used for case treatment and prophylaxis in all three nursing homes.

Methods:  Ten influenza A (H3N2) viruses isolated during the outbreaks were examined for resistance to amantadine and rimantadine by means of an enzyme immunoassay and by sequencing of the viral nucleic acid that encodes the transmembrane domain of the M2 protein.

Results:  Five of the outbreak strains were resistant and had the same mutation (position 31, serine to asparagine) in the M2 protein. The resistant viruses included one that had been recovered prior to any use of amantadine and another that was recovered within 48 hours of the first drug administration.

Conclusions:  To our knowledge, this is the first report of influenza A virus with RNA sequence—documented resistance to amantadine and rimantadine without exposure to either drug, and the shortest reported period between institution of amantadine therapy and isolation of a resistant influenza A virus strain. These results suggest that surveillance for amantadine- and rimantadine-resistant influenza A is needed, because use of these drugs will probably increase.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:533-537)

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