Monday, 11 December, 2017

Flu season has arrived and it could be a bad one

Flu clinic available to community at no cost Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season
Melissa Porter | 07 December, 2017, 23:23

This possibility underscores the need to strive toward a "universal" influenza vaccine that will protect against seasonal influenza drift variants as well as potential pandemic strains, with better durability than current annual vaccines. But this year, things are different.

Dr. Meena Dawar, a medical health officer with VCH, said although cases in hospital wards are less frequent than in residential care facilities, for people with underlying health conditions, the flu can complicate the primary treatment and lead to longer hospital stays.

FluWatch, an online influenza tracker by the federal government, says that flu season came early this year and detections of flus nationwide have increased to 11 per cent between November 19 and November 25, compared to six per cent for the same period last year. "Flu viruses are notoriously unpredictable, but from the information I've received, all indications point to a possibly severe flu season in Vermont".

Flu shot producers expect to make between 151 million and 166 million doses of vaccine this flu season.

There are a several different strains of flu viruses, and the main culprit in Australia was a strain called H3N2.

Influenza is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus. However, the flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective against that strain, meaning it reduced a person's risk of infection by 10 percent, according to a paper published in the public health journal Eurosurveillance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. Experts worry because the H3N2 portion of the vaccine used here in the U.S.is identical to the one used in Australia. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department has influenza vaccine available for children and adults. The cost of adult flu vaccine is $25.00.

Doctors still want you to get the shot, though.