Background. From October 2006 to February 2007, clinical specimens from 452 patients with symptoms related to respiratory tract infection in the northern region of Taiwan were collected. Real-time PCR and direct immunofluorescent antibody tests showed that 145 (32%) patients had influenza B virus infections. Subsequently, nucleotide sequence analyses of both hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of 39 isolates were performed. Isolated viruses were antigenically characterized using hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) test. Findings. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that all the isolates belonged to the B reassortant lineage with HA gene belonged to the B/Victoria/2/87 lineage and the NA gene belonged to the B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage. In addition, a group of children aged between 6 to 8 years old resided in Yilan county were infected with a variant strain. Hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) tests confirmed that all the reassortant influenza B viruses were B/Malaysia/2506/04-like viruses. Pre- and post-immunized serum samples from 4 normal volunteers inoculated with 2007 influenza vaccine were evaluated for their HI activity on 6 reassortant B isolates including two variants that we found in the Yilan county. The results demonstrated that after vaccination, all four vaccinees had at least 4-fold increases of their HI titers. Conclusion. The results indicate that the 2006-2007 seasonal influenza vaccine was effective in stimulating protective immunity against the influenza B variants identified in Yilan county. Continuous surveillance of emerging influenza B variants in the northern region of Taiwan is important for the selection of proper vaccine candidate in the future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)