Flu shot only 36 percent effective, making bad year worse


As of Friday, health officials said the current flu season is "still on the rise".

Although it's not a frequent occurrence, the CDC says a flu season can last as late as May.

In response to one of the worst influenza seasons in recent years, the Wolf Administration will hold 41 free influenza vaccine clinics at locations across the state throughout the remainder of the month.

Welch added that he expects to see high rates of flu continue for the next several weeks. All three cases involved people over 80 years old. If you are close enough to a person with the flu (3 to 6 feet) when they cough or sneeze, you can breathe in the virus and get sick.

In its report, the CDC also emphasized that there are weeks left in this year's flu season and people should still get shots. "It seems like it's a little bit lighter on the West Coast".

Influenza is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus.

This year's surging flu numbers are attributed to the strain H3N2, which doctors say is vaccine-resistant.

People getting sick from the flu shot most likely had a strain of the virus already in them, Lopez said. "But now we're seeing a surge in influenza B, so we're not sure what that's attributed to".

Recognizing flu warning signs is critical too.

"It's not uncommon for B strains to increase later in the season", Schuchat said.

Despite the poor match of the vaccine to the most common strain of flu, the CDC is still urging people who haven't gotten a flu shot to get one, because the vaccine is more effective against other types of flu.

As the flu season brings record-breaking numbers of hospitalizations and deaths across the state, the Payne County Health Department is offering flu shots at no cost to recipients. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year. "In the previous week, we actually saw the highest number of cases we have ever seen in a single day: 45 new cases".

Protection extends to the food residents eat as well, she said, as healthy foods serve to maintain the immune system.

Additionally, initial reports show that laboratory-confirmed flu cases for the week ending February 10 have again increased to over 1,200.

There were two child deaths from flu-related illnesses in MA during the last flu season, according to DPH.

It would make sense to see "a lot" of influenza deaths in the coming weeks, said Schuchat based on the fact that many people are now in the hospital. He said he, his wife and two children have all been vaccinated.

"Of the viruses we hate, we hate H3N2 more than the other ones", said top CDC flu expert Daniel Jernigan.

Washing your hands as much as possible, and avoiding people who clearly have flu-like symptoms, can also help you avoid getting the flu. One target of online fear is the antiviral drug Tamiflu, prescribed to reduce the length of illness, or in some cases as a preventative measure.