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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

B-flu virus

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Dutch Josh View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 01 2018 at 7:23am

DJ-With the B-flu virus being the main cause of flu in Asia and parts of Europe from "a site tracking the flu" (see also

Interestingly, in last week's study NEJM: Acute Myocardial Infarction After Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Infection, it was Influenza B (rather than A) that produced the highest coronary risk, at least among their limited sample size (n=364).
A finding that harkens back to the 2012 JID study mentioned above.
It is a bit unusual to see influenza B dominated flu seasons in Asia and parts of Europe, since Influenza B generally peaks in the spring, after influenza A begins to wane. Some have suggested last summer's influenza A surge in Asia may have opened the door to a B-virus season.
This has been an interesting epidemiological twist, and one we'll want to learn more about.
The good news is the flu shot (particularly the quadrivalent version) provides much better protection against influenza B viruses than we've seen in recent years against the A/H3N2 strain. With another 6 to 8 weeks of flu ahead, it isn't too late to get the shot.
Since influenza B viruses have only been found in humans and seals, they tend to evolve slowly, and are not viewed as serious pandemic threats. Nevertheless, they can spark large epidemics that produce significant morbidity and mortality.
While old ideas about the severity of influenza B still persist, the evidence increasingly shows that influenza B viruses deserve the same respect as their A-list cousins.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
~Albert Einstein
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