Epidemiology and Molecular Analyses of Influenza B Viruses in Senegal from 2010 to 2019

Influenza virus types A and B are responsible for acute viral infections that affect annually 1 billion people, with 290,000 to 650,000 deaths worldwide. In this study, we investigated the circulation of influenza B viruses over a 10-year period (2010-2019). Specimens from patients suspected of influenza infection were collected. Influenza detection was performed following RNA extraction and real-time RT-PCR. Genes coding for hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) of influenza B viruses were partially sequenced, and phylogenetic analyses were carried out subsequently. During the study period, we received and tested a total of 15,156 specimens. Influenza B virus was detected in 1322 (8.7%) specimens. The mean age of influenza B positive patients was 10.9 years. When compared to reference viruses, HA genes from Senegalese circulating viruses showed deletions in the HA1 region. Phylogenetic analysis highlighted the co-circulation of B/Victoria and B/Yamagata lineage viruses with reassortant viruses. We also noted a clear seasonal pattern of circulation of influenza B viruses in Senegal.