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CNA: China Faces Overlapping Influenza A and B Epidemics

Taiwan’s Central News Agency recently reported that China is experiencing overlapping epidemics of influenza A and influenza B.

The current influenza season in China began with the H3N2 influenza A strain in October 2023. Over the past 1-3 weeks, influenza B detection rates in some regions of China have exceeded influenza A rates. According to China’s National Health Commission, influenza A cases have been slowing and influenza B cases are on the rise. Multiple provinces are now seeing more influenza B than influenza A infections, with some hospitals now finding influenza B as the cause of more than 50% of positive flu tests.

China’s current influenza B epidemic largely affects young adults in their 20s-50s rather than the elderly. The symptoms also tend to be milder compared to influenza A.

With the ongoing dual influenza outbreaks, there has been a sharp rise in demand and sales of influenza medications in China. Experts have emphasized that previous infection with influenza A does not provide full immune protection against influenza B — people remain susceptible to influenza B even if they have already had influenza A this season. High-risk groups in China have been advised to take vaccines against both the influenza A and B viruses. Authorities continue monitoring the situation as the country remains in the midst of back-to-back flu epidemics.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), January 15, 2024