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The prevalence of influenza A and B virus-specific IgG was determined in sera taken between 2008 and 2010 from 1,665 children aged 0-17 years and 400 blood donors in Germany. ELISA on the basis of whole virus antigens was applied. Nearly all children aged nine years and older had antibodies against influenza A. In contrast, 40% of children aged 0-4 years did not have any influenza A virus-specific IgG antibodies. Eighty-six percent of 0-6 year-olds, 47% of 7-12 year-olds and 20% of 13-17 year-olds were serologically naïve to influenza B viruses. By the age of 18 years, influenza B seroprevalence reached approximately 90%. There were obvious regional differences in the seroprevalence of influenza B in Germany. In conclusion, seroprevalences of influenza A and influenza B increase gradually during childhood. The majority of children older than eight years have basal immunity to influenza A, while comparable immunity against influenza B is only acquired at the age of 18 years. Children aged 0-6 years, showing an overall seroprevalence of 67% for influenza A and of 14% for influenza B, are especially at risk for primary infections during influenza B seasons. .


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