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Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal:
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31816be008
Original Studies

Clinical Features of Children Infected With Different Strains of Influenza B in Southern Taiwan

Chi, Chia-Yu MD*†; Wang, Shih-Min MD, PhD‡; Lin, Chia-Chun MS*; Wang, Hsuan-Chen MS*; Wang, Jen-Ren PhD§; Su, Ih-Jen MD, PhD*; Liu, Ching-Chuan MD, MPH†

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Background: This study was designed to determine the clinical characteristics of children infected with different strains of influenza B viruses isolated in southern Taiwan. The clinical features were compared with influenza A infection occurring in the same period.

Methods: All children enrolled in the study had laboratory-confirmed infection with influenza A or B viruses. Influenza B speciation was performed by RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, and amplification by polymerase chain reaction and sequencing. Demographic data, clinical findings, diagnoses, and outcomes were obtained.

Results: During the study period, 163 strains of influenza A and 118 strains of influenza B were isolated. The Yamagata-like strains were most prevalent in 2001. New reassortant strains were identified since 2002 and became predominant in 2005 and 2006. Children with influenza B were more likely than those with influenza A to be diagnosed as upper respiratory tract infection, myositis, and gastroenteritis (P < 0.05). Children infected with Yamagata-like strains were more likely to develop lower respiratory tract infection (P < 0.05) and accounted for all cases of invasive disease. Children infected with the Victoria-like group had the longest hospital stays associated with severe bacterial superinfection.

Conclusions: Currently new reassortant influenza B viruses are the predominant strains circulating in southern Taiwan. There is considerable similarity of clinical features between influenza A and B in children. The Yamagata-like strains were associated with more invasive infections. Continuous influenza virus surveillance is essential particularly in Taiwan where pandemic strains tend to appear earlier than in other countries.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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