In contrast to influenza A, minor influenza B viruses can co-circulate with the dominant strain during an epidemic allowing the re-emergence of old strains and reassortment between those different strains. The 2001-2002 influenza season in the northern hemisphere was distinguished by the re-emergence of the Victoria-lineage viruses, which replaced the Yamagata-lineage, after being restricted to East Asia throughout the 1990s. To describe the antigenic and genetic characteristics of influenza B viruses detected in South and South East Brazil and determine their lineages. Influenza samples collected during epidemics between 1999 and 2002 were analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Positive results were confirmed through multiplex PCR and isolation in cell culture. Isolated viruses were antigenically characterized by hemagglutination inhibition. Fourteen hemagglutinin (HA) gene sequences obtained in this work were used for phylogenetic analysis. Brazilian isolates from 2002 were associated with the Victoria-lineage, diverging from the vaccine used throughout that influenza season in Brazil. These results indicate the reappearance of Sichuan/7/97-like samples in South and South East Brazilian Regions simultaneously. They indicate the need for neuraminidase gene evaluation and demonstrate the importance of influenza laboratory surveillance to establish which strains should be included in the influenza vaccine.