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Frontiers of Medicine doi: 10.1007/s11684-022-0930-5

Seroprevalence of influenza viruses in Shandong, Northern China during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Abstract

Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) have been commonly deployed to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), resulting in a worldwide decline in influenza prevalence. However, the influenza risk in China warrants cautious assessment. We conducted a cross-sectional, sero-epidemiological study in Shandong Province, Northern China in mid-2021. Hemagglutination inhibition was performed to test antibodies against four influenza vaccine strains. A combination of descriptive and meta-analyses was adopted to compare the seroprevalence of influenza antibodies before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall seroprevalence values against A/H1N1pdm09, A/H3N2, B/Victoria, and B/Yamagata were 17.8% (95% CI 16.2%–19.5%), 23.5% (95% CI 21.7%–25.4%), 7.6% (95% CI 6.6%–8.7%), and 15.0 (95% CI 13.5%–16.5%), respectively, in the study period. The overall vaccination rate was extremely low (2.6%). Our results revealed that antibody titers in vaccinated participants were significantly higher than those in unvaccinated individuals (P < 0.001). Notably, the meta-analysis showed that antibodies against A/H1N1pdm09 and A/H3N2 were significantly low in adults after the COVID-19 pandemic ( P < 0.01). Increasing vaccination rates and maintaining NPIs are recommended to prevent an elevated influenza risk in China.

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