Haemagglutinin sequences of pandemic influenza A(H1N1) viruses circulating in Italy were examined, focusing on amino acid changes at position 222 because of its suggested pathogenic relevance. Among 169 patients, the D222G substitution was detected in three of 52 (5.8%) severe cases and in one of 117 (0.9%) mild cases, whereas the D222E mutation was more frequent and evenly distributed in mild (31.6%) and severe cases (38.4%). A cluster of D222E viruses among school children confirms reported human-to-human transmission of viruses mutated at amino acid position 222.
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