Could be the worst flu season

Flu season is here

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. It is one of the best ways to prevent contracting the flu virus.

Fleming said four might not seem like a lot but confirmed cases "are the tip of the iceberg".

Health officials are warning that the flu season could be bad and that it's coming early. "We generally start seeing an increase about now, and we'll gradually see more as time goes on".

Added to that uncertainty is the question of how effective this season's vaccine may be in preventing people from getting the flu.

"Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths", a team of USA researchers wrote in an article published November 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Coconino County already has approximately 40 cases of people diagnosed with the flu virus this season. And in Australia, which used the identical vaccine as Canada's this past season, its effectiveness against H3N2 infection was far less - only about 10 per cent.

It's the Ontario government that pays for the costs of flu vaccines so it paid for the replacements, he said.

'Reports from other developed countries suggest suboptimal vaccine efficacy and we are still waiting to see which strain will predominate in the US. "Taking all the right steps to keeping your health in tact is basically good", said Thaddaeus Crawford, who did not get his flu shot.




According to the study, a strain of the H3N2 virus with a different outer layer protein emerged during the 2014-2015 flu season.

Fauci said flu is inherently unpredictable, but all of the available evidence right now suggests that the flu season that begins in the US this month won't be a light one. Nationwide since October 1, 566 have been hospitalized for influenza and 148 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed. There are three other strains represented in the vaccine, two of which are also circulating this year.

"We can't make a judgment on how effective it is at this point", said Rebb.

Last year's flu vaccine was updated to include the new version of this protein, but the egg-grown version had acquired a new mutation.

If you do get flu, keep it to yourself, Mills said.

Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control, said the federal agency will be releasing later this week the season's first set of data on what the expected vaccine effectiveness is in the United States and what early-season flu vaccination coverage looks like.

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