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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

What’s the difference between Influenza A and B?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity in the United States remains high, but indicators that track severity (hospitalizations and deaths) a...

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity in the United States remains high, but indicators that track severity (hospitalizations and deaths) are not as high at this point in the season.

Local 5 has been tracking a rare case in Iowa of a four-year-old girl having severe complications when she contracted influenza B. Our team asked state health department officials what the difference is between influenza A and B.

Influenza A and B are the two types of influenza that cause epidemic seasonal infections nearly every year.

“…we’re kind of characterizing them by their particular proteins and traits of each virus,” said Dr. Caitlin Pedati. “Flu is a smart virus, so it can change from year to year, and that’s why we continue to change the flu vaccine each year because it’s important for our immune systems to have that reminder to learn how to recognize those pieces and proteins that might change. So when we talk about flu a versus flu b, we’re talking about two different types of virus, both capable of causing illness, and we see both of them every year.”

You can find the weekly flu report on the CDC website here.