The flu is a common viral infection that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. every year. This disease spreads easily, is typically self-diagnosable and self-treatable, and is primarily preventable by vaccine. However, the flu can be deadly, especially in high-risk groups.
Influenza B virus is the only species in the genus Betainfluenzavirus in the virus family Orthomyxoviridae. Also known as type B flu, this virus is only known to infect humans (and seals) with influenza. Sadly, type B flu can cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially when it comes to adolescents and the elderly.
In addition to type B flu virus, influenza can be split into three other groups: A, C, and D, each with a number of cades that differentiate the virus further. For instance, Type D flu affects cattle instead of humans, while A and B are responsible for the majority of illnesses each flu season.
Approximately three out of every four cases of the flu are caused by type A flu. However, this year, medical professionals have reported a resurgence in type B flu. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this is the first time type B flu has predominated in the U.S. since 1992.
Here are some noteworthy statistics pertaining to this season’s type B flu resurgence:
- There have been 32 pediatric deaths reported in the U.S. since the start of the season in fall — 21 of which were caused by type b flu.
- There have been around 4,800 to 12,000 deaths (and 87,000 to 150,000 hospitalizations) from the flu since the beginning of October.
- One large pediatric health care facility in New Orleans reported 1,268 laboratory-confirmed influenza B virus infections, including 23 hospitalizations from July 31 to November 21, 2019.
- Overall in Pennsylvania, there have been 25,362 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, 477 flu-associated hospitalizations and 13 flu-related deaths this season so far.
Since type B flu could be so deadly for children, it’s imperative to monitor your child’s health at all times and be aware of the warning signs. Here are some of the symptoms for influenza B:
- Fever (or chills)
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Gastrointestinal problems
If you notice yourself struggling with any of these symptoms for an extended period of time — and especially if your children are showing signs of these symptoms — seek out medical attention right away. There are 24 hour emergency care hybrid medical facilities that can help with all kinds of flu symptoms.
Most people will start feeling better after a few days of rest, but there could be complications that lead to severe health issues, including organ failure, pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and inflammation of the heart.
“[The] CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October,” wrote a CDC spokesperson. “However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even in January or later.”
Whether it’s the middle of flu season or not, make sure that you’re constantly monitoring your health and your family’s health. If you’re worried about your children showing flu-like symptoms, head to your nearest hybrid healthcare facility right away! Good luck and stay healthy!