Seroprevalence of influenza A and B in German infants and adolescents

Med Microbiol Immunol. 2009 May;198(2):93-101. doi: 10.1007/s00430-009-0108-7. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


The objective of this study was to provide seroepidemiological information on influenza A and B antibodies in children and adolescents. Viral immunoglobulin G antibodies were determined retrospectively using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in a group of 1,111 children and adolescents. Sera (809) from healthy adult blood donors served as controls. In children, the prevalence of antibodies against influenza A was 82.0% and against influenza B 9.6%, whereas in adults the prevalence of antibodies against influenza A was calculated as 99.4% and against influenza B 56.7%. After decline of maternal antibodies during the first year of life, there was an increase of prevalence of influenza A antibodies up to 100% by the age of 12 years. In contrast, only 1-2% of children up to 9 years had influenza B antibodies increasing to 25% by the age of 18 years and to 70% among adults aged 30 years. Children aged 0-6 years had significantly lower concentrations and >12-15-year-old adolescents had significantly higher concentrations of antibodies against influenza A than adults. For all age groups of children and adolescents, significantly lower antibody concentrations against influenza B were measured in comparison to the blood donor control group. In conclusion, the annual influenza vaccination in children and adolescents may improve considerably the protection against influenza virus infection occurring during epidemics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Influenza A virus / immunology*
  • Influenza B virus / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / blood
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / immunology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G