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Health experts expect strong flu season
08 December 2017, 01:39 | Rodolfo Quinn
A sign telling customers that they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is seen in Indianapolis
This project, directed by Dr. James Crowe, also a pediatric infectious diseases physician at VUMC, seeks to develop a vaccine that will protect against all strains of flu.
The flu virus is spread through droplets of saliva and mucus from the nose and mouth of someone who coughs or sneezes. In the last week, cases in Washington State are also on the rise.
Doctors say December through February is the peak of flu season and you need to get your shot as soon as possible.
"Projects like this are why many of us do research", Creech said. Across all the strains for which it was produced, the vaccine was about 33 percent effective in Australia.
The U.S. sees 140,000 to 710,000 flu-related hospitalization each year and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization.
"If you've been vaccinated you're much less likely to have very severe illness, less likely to need to be hospitalized, and less likely to die. the vaccine is must more effective if you happen to catch one of the other strains of the flu that's cirruclating".
In its December 1 weekly flu report, the CDC changed the state's activity rating from "regional" to "widespread", the worst rating among states so far this year. 201 of those cases are from people who have had flu like illnesses.
"Due to the confirmed influenza presence in Flathead County, it is now more important than ever to be vaccinated against influenza to protect everyone, including the most vulnerable populations", the health department said in a press release.
- A new published paper warns that this could be a bad flu season in the United States and the flu vaccine being used could have as low as a 10 percent effectiveness.
"It doesn't necessarily mean flu shots won't work here, or suggest how intense our flu season will be, but it's a good predictor", Crain stated.
"We want to continue to emphasize that vaccine is better than no vaccine and vaccine can prevent death, especially in children", Jackson said.
Researchers found antibodies elicited by the vaccine in ferrets and humans "did a poor job of neutralizing H3N2 viruses that circulated last year". "Our immune system then gets to see it, to recognize it, and learn it so that if we ever get a natural virus infection, we're ready to respond".
Despite concerns over the effectiveness, experts said the yearly flu vaccine is still recommended, especially for young child, those over age 50 and people who have health conditions that could make contracting the flu particularly unsafe.
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