Health experts expect strong flu season

Tabitha Dunn
Декабря 8, 2017

Recent reports indicate the latest vaccine may be only 10 percent effective against this year's strain of the infection, due to the way the virus mutated after the vaccines were developed.

Adding to the concerns are worries over the effectiveness of the vaccine. "We won't know what the number is here in the United States for several months", he said. "The seasons in which H3N2 predominates, those are the seasons we see more severe illness, more hospitalizations". During flu season, it is crucial to scrub your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap. By the end of the year, the CDC declared an epidemic, with more than 20 deaths in just a few weeks before Christmas that year.

Local health officials say that because of the influenza presence in Flathead County it's more important than ever to get a flu shot.

'The predominant strain appears to be the H3N2 strain.

'Some of the early assessments of the vaccine from the Australia epidemic in their winter, our summer, suggest about a 10 percent vaccine efficacy which would then mean it was 10 percent effective in preventing the disease'. "That's alarming no matter how you look at it, regardless of the year, particularly for a vaccine preventable illness", says Dr. Fred Lopez, with LSU Health Infectious Diseases.

'We are seeing increased activity at this time although we are nowhere near its peak'.

The county saw 15 cases last week, up from six since the start of the season. We surpassed that by Thanksgiving.

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According to CDC data, between October 1 and November 25 of this year, there have been 5,070 positive cases of the flu.

Some infectious disease researchers are blaming the outdated methods for cultivating flu vaccines.

It takes about six months to make a flu vaccine so it's too late for USA companies to mass-produce one geared to stop the H3N2 strain that ravaged Australia.

This allows the virus to replicate.

In the case of H3N2, the vaccine component has been genetically altered somewhat as a result of the manufacturing process, which involves growing vast quantities of the virus in eggs. 53 were diagnosed with the type A flu virus, and 49 others were confirmed with the type B influenza.

Nevertheless, the state is urging everyone to get a flu shot. Between the same time period previous year, there were 2,510. When vaccines are well-matched to circulating strains, estimates of effectiveness range between 40 and 60 percent, according to the Journal. Next, the project seeks to evaluate vaccine responses in real time by measuring blood levels of antibodies more frequently (on the order of hours, rather than days) to determine how quickly individuals can begin to mount an effective response.

"We want to continue to emphasize that vaccine is better than no vaccine and vaccine can prevent death, especially in children", Jackson said.

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