Burden of influenza B virus infections in Scotland in 2012/13 and epidemiological investigations between 2000 and 2012

We describe the burden of influenza B infections in Scotland during a 13-year study period. Influenza A and B viruses cocirculated throughout the period, with numbers of influenza B cases approaching or exceeding those of influenza A during six influenza seasons. Influenza B viruses of both Victoria and Yamagata lineage were detected in two of six seasons investigated. For the 2012/13 season, influenza B accounted for 44.4% of all influenzas, with the highest incidence in those under the age of five years. Influenza B virus infections led to fewer admissions to an intensive care unit (ICU) and a lower mortality rate than influenza A (37 vs 81 ICU admissions and three vs 29 deaths) during the 2012/13 season. However, a quarter of those admitted to ICU with influenza B had not been immunised and 60% had not received specific influenza antiviral therapy. This highlights the need for consistent influenza vaccination and prompt usage of antiviral treatment for identified risk groups. Combining the newly introduced vaccination programme for children with the use of a tetravalent vaccine may provide the opportunity to improve the control of influenza B in those with the highest influenza B burden, children and young adolescents