AlIbrahim M, et al. Molecular epidemiology and genetic characterization of influenza B virus in Lebanon during 2016~2018. Infect Genet Evol. 2019 Jul 17:103969
Influenza B viruses are a major cause of serious acute respiratory infections in humans.
Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from subjects with influenza-like illness during October 2016-June 2018 and screened for influenza A and B. The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of the Lebanese influenza B specimens were sequenced and phylogenetically compared with the vaccine strains and specimens from the Eastern Mediterranean Region and Europe.
Influenza A and B viruses co-circulated between October and May and peaked between January and March. During the 2016-2017 season, A/H3N2 (33.4%) and B/Yamagata (29.7%) were the predominantly circulating viruses followed by B/Victoria and A/H1N1pdm09 viruses. During the 2017-2018 season, A/H3N2 (31.5%) and A/H1Npdm09 (29.3%) were most prevalent with co-circulation of B/Yamagata and to a lesser extent B/Victoria viruses. The B/Yamagata specimens belonged to clade-3 while the B/Victoria belonged to clade-1A. None of the analyzed specimens had a mutation known to confer resistance to NA inhibitors (NAIs).
Multiple subtypes of influenza co-circulate each year in Lebanon with a peak between January and March. The trivalent vaccine included a B/Victoria strain which mismatched the B/Yamagata lineage that predominated during the study period, highlighting the importance of quadrivalent vaccines.
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