Flu Activity Is Up Amid Questions About Vaccine Effectiveness

Dr. Alpesh Patel epidemiology and Infectious disease coordinator for the Will County Health Department

Steven O'Marro, an infection preventionist, says despite possibly being less effective, the flu shot still serves a goal. Although it is hard to predict an influenza season, the authors noted that when A (H3N2) viruses was the dominant influenza strain in past seasons, hospitalizations and deaths were more common and the effectiveness of the vaccine was lower.

A huge spike in the number of flu cases could portend a particularly bad year for the flu in Arizona.

"Some protection is better than no protection", Kern County Public Health Services Department spokeswoman Michelle Corson said, stressing the importance of the vaccination.

Thousands of two and three-year-olds in Kent have not been immunised against flu, despite being eligible for a free vaccine.

The flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus infecting the nose, throat, and lungs and can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis, hospitalization, or even death.

It may not sound like a disaster, since this year's flu shot is only 10 percent effective against the difficult-to-stop H3N2 strain.


'Continued efforts are needed to increase the percentage of the population vaccinated during the next few months in order to reduce the burden of flu, ' the authors of the CDC report said. At this time past year, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield had treated 14 cases of influenza.

And finally, if you can, stay at home if you're sick.

"This is more typical of what we see most years", Shahab said.

"Our flu season started early this year", explained the Pima County Health Department's Deputy Director, Paula Mandel. Vaccines are made each year to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common.

Recent reports have questioned the effectiveness of this year's vaccine, with some experts warning it could only be 10% effective.

"I highly recommend the vaccine", Shelton said, noting that all the health district offices still have plenty of the vaccine available. When your immune system kicks into gear making antibodies, your body's natural response can involve fatigue, soreness and even mild fever. Rigler said it takes about two weeks for the body to react to the killed virus in the vaccine to build up an immunity. "Most people have no reaction at all, other than mild soreness in the arm where the shot was administered".

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