Burden of influenza B virus infection and considerations for clinical management

Influenza B viruses cause significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in children, but the awareness of their impact is often less than influenza A viruses partly due to their lack of pandemic potential. Here, we summarise the biology, epidemiology and disease burden of influenza B, and review existing data on available antivirals for its management. There has long been uncertainty surrounding the clinical efficacy of neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) for influenza B treatment. In this article, we bring together the existing data on NAIs and discuss these alongside recent large randomised controlled trial data for the new polymerase inhibitor baloxavir in high-risk influenza B patients. Finally, we offer considerations for the clinical management of influenza B, with a focus on children and high-risk patients where disease burden is highest.