Clinical Research Papers:

Forty five percent of the Israeli population were infected with the influenza B Victoria virus during the winter season 2015–16

Sivan Sharabi, Ravit Bassal, Nehemya Friedman, Yaron Drori, Hadar Alter, Aharona Glatman-Freedman, Musa Hindiyeh, Danny Cohen, Ella Mendelson, Tamar Shohat and Michal Mandelboim _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:6623-6629. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23601

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Sivan Sharabi1,2, Ravit Bassal3, Nehemya Friedman1,2, Yaron Drori1,2, Hadar Alter1, Aharona Glatman-Freedman2,3,4, Musa Hindiyeh1,2, Daniel Cohen2, Ella Mendelson1,2, Tamy Shohat2,3 and Michal Mandelboim1,2

1Central Virology Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Ramat-Gan, Israel

2Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

3The Israel Center for Disease Control, Israel Ministry of Health, Tel-Hashomer, Ramat-Gan, Israel

4Department of Family and Community Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, United States

Correspondence to:

Michal Mandelboim, email: [email protected]

Keywords: influenza B; vaccine; Yamagata; Victoria

Received: August 23, 2017     Accepted: November 29, 2017     Published: December 22, 2017


While infection with influenza A viruses has been extensively investigated, infections with influenza B viruses which are commonly categorized into the highly homologous Victoria and Yamagata lineages, are less studied, despite their considerable virulence. Here we used RT-PCR assays, hemagglutination inhibition assays and antibody titers to determine the levels of influenza B infection. We report of high influenza B Victoria virus prevalence in the 2015–16 winter season in Israel, affecting approximately half of the Israeli population. We further show that the Victoria B virus infected individuals of all ages and that it was present in the country throughout the entire winter season. The vaccine however included the inappropriate Yamagata virus. We propose that a quadrivalent vaccine, that includes both Yamagata and Victoria lineages, should be considered for future influenza vaccination.

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