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Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, and Economic Burden of Influenza


January 23, 2013

Jordana Schmier and Carrie Kuehn, in the Center for Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Computational Biology and the Center for Biomedical Engineering, respectively, have had an important and timely systematic review published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The paper entitled, “The burden of influenza B: a structured literature review,” summarizes 15 years of literature about the epidemiology, clinical presentation, and economic burden of influenza B. Influenza B, of which there are two types, has historically less often been the cause of epidemics than strains of influenza A. As a result, less is known about the impact of influenza B on public health during flu season. This review found that, although there have been fewer cases of influenza B than A over the past 15 years, it is neither less burdensome, nor are there substantial differences in symptoms, time to recovery, or mortality rates compared with influenza A. The burden of influenza B in a given year is influenced by which of the two subtypes are included in the annual vaccination. Having a better understanding of the burden of Influenza B can influence vaccine development and public health efforts during flu epidemics. This study was supported by MedImmune, LLC.