The key difference between Flu A and B is that the causative of Flu A is the Influenza A viral strain while that of Flu B is the influenza B viral strain.
Influenza viruses are a group of orthomyxoviruses that cause respiratory tract diseases. There are four main strains of these viruses as A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B are the commonest viral strains and cause flu A and flu B respectively. Therefore, the difference between these two conditions is in the infectious agent is the main difference between the two forms of flu.
What is Flu A?
Influenza A viral strain, which is an orthomyxovirus, causes Flu A. This virus is responsible for the most devastating form of the disease and has a potential to cause epidemics and pandemics. Antigenic drift gives rise to new strains of influenza and these viruses result in epidemics in various parts of the world at irregular intervals.
Genetic reassortment of the viral RNA is the cause of antigenic drift. Moreover, some of the subtypes of influenza A can cause more severe disease than the others.
What is Flu B?
Flu B is the form of influenza caused by the influenza B viral strain. This often causes less severe outbreaks in places such as military facilities and refugee camps. Minor changes in this viral strain can happen through point mutations of the viral RNA. This phenomenon is known as antigenic drift. Unlike the influenza A virus, influenza b virus does not have subtypes.
What are the Similarities Between Flu A and B?
- Both types of flu are associated with similar symptoms which include fever, arthralgia, malaise, myalgia, dry cough and other respiratory difficulties.
- The treatment of both conditions is through drugs that such as oseltamivir.
- Vaccines given against these viruses generally cover all the viral strains but do not provide a lifelong immunity.
- Obesity, pregnancy, immune suppression and extremes of age are the main risk factors that worsen the disease prognosis.
What is the Difference Between Flu A and B?
Flu A is the form of influenza caused by the influenza A viral strain. On the contrary, Flu B is the form of influenza caused by the influenza B viral strain. Furthermore, Flu A can occur as epidemics or pandemics. However, Flu B occurs as a mild form of the disease.
Summary – Flu A vs B
There are four main strains of influenza viruses causing respiratory illnesses as influenza A, B, C and D. Strains A and B are the commonest viral strains and cause flu A and flu B respectively. This difference in the causative organism is the main difference between these two forms.
1. Kumar, Parveen J., and Michael L. Clark. Kumar & Clark clinical medicine. Edinburgh: W.B. Saunders, 2012. Print. Ser. 8.