Differing epidemiological dynamics of influenza B virus lineages in Guangzhou, southern China, 2009-2010

J Virol. 2013 Nov;87(22):12447-56. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01039-13. Epub 2013 Sep 11.


The epidemiological and evolutionary dynamics of the two cocirculating lineages of influenza B virus, Victoria and Yamagata, are poorly understood, especially in tropical or subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. We performed a phylogenetic analysis of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) sequences of influenza B viruses isolated in Guangzhou, a southern Chinese city, during 2009 to 2010 and compared the demographic and clinical features of infected patients. We identified multiple viral introductions of Victoria strains from both Chinese and international sources, which formed two phylogenetically and antigenically distinct clades (Victoria 1 and 2), some of which persisted between seasons. We identified one dominant Yamagata introduction from outside China during 2009. Our phylogenetic analysis reveals the occurrence of reassortment events among the Victoria and Yamagata lineages and also within the Victoria lineage. We found no significant difference in clinical severity by influenza B lineage, with the exceptions that (i) the Yamagata lineage infected older people than either Victoria lineage and (ii) fewer upper respiratory tract infections were caused by the Victoria 2 than the Victoria 1 clade. Overall, our study reveals the complex epidemiological dynamics of different influenza B lineages within a single geographic locality and has implications for vaccination policy in southern China.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biological Evolution
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Influenza B virus / classification*
  • Influenza B virus / genetics
  • Influenza B virus / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / genetics
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Male
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Neuraminidase / genetics*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Young Adult


  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • RNA, Viral
  • Neuraminidase