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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2002 Sep 28;146(39):1846-50.

[The 2001/2002 influenza season and the vaccine composition for the 2002/2003 season].

[Article in Dutch]

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Erasmus Medisch Centrum, afd. Virologie, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam.


The epidemic in the influenza season 2001/2002 was of moderate activity just like in 2000/2001. The influenza epidemic started in week 2 of 2002 when the clinical influenza activity reported by the general practitioner network of the Netherlands Institute of Primary Health Care (NIVEL) increased. This was caused by influenza A viruses of the H3N2 subtype in particular. All influenza A viruses of this subtype were closely related to the vaccine strain for this subtype, A/Moscow/10/99. Influenza B viruses and influenza A/H1 viruses isolated this season had surprising features. The influenza B viruses originated from two lineages. Viruses of the B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage have been circulating for more than twelve years. The vaccine reference strain B/Sichuan/379/99 belongs to this lineage. The B/Victoria/2/87 lineage reappeared again after an absence in Europe of more than ten years and accounted for 50% of the influenza B viruses that were isolated in the Netherlands. Therefore the vaccine will have provided only partial protection against influenza B. The only influenza A/H1 virus that was isolated appeared to be of a new subtype H1N2. The H1 hemagglutinin of this virus was closely related to that of the vaccine strain A/New Caledonia/20/99. The N2 neuraminidase originated from recent human influenza A/H3N2 viruses. Therefore the vaccine probably provided good protection against the new H1N2 subtype. Based in part on these data, the World Health Organization has advised that the vaccines for the season 2002/2003 should contain the following or comparable influenza-virus strains: A/Moscow/10/99 (H3N2), A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1) and B/Hong Kong/330/01, the latter being an influenza B virus of the B/Victoria/2/87 lineage.

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