U.S. officials warn 'intense' flu season to continue, urge shots

Randy Kelley
February 16, 2018

Vaccine effectiveness is tricky to measure, because there is no way to know how many vaccinated people never got ill at all. One as yet unanswered question is whether those versions of the vaccine were better or worse than vaccine produced in chicken eggs. They discovered that in the young, more immune cells called monocytes were recruited to the lungs, and that the gene expression profiles of these cells had more inflammatory features, causing greater inflammation and more severe lung injury.

Effectiveness against the season's dominant strain, the H3N2 strain, was lower at about 25 percent.

The flu season normally runs October through May.

The estimates were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After some people apparently complained that she was a little too sarcastic in her video, it has even spurred an online petition to support her and other nurses and doctors who are "spreading of education during this awful flu season". People must get a new vaccine every year to be protected. "Not speaking to these individual cases, we see very few children who have fatal flu have been vaccinated", she said. It's 42 percent effective against influenza B viruses and 67 percent effective against H1N1 viruses, according to the results of a study involving about 4,600 people.

He added that older people generally have less effective immune systems and that many Americans over 65 are facing an extra challenge when it comes to H3N2.

How much protection the influenza vaccine provides overall varies every year.

While it's been a normal year in Jefferson County, a 39-year-old Watertown woman reportedly died on February 1 after getting the flu.

"This flu season continues to be extremely challenging and intense, with very high levels of office visits for flu and hospitalization rates, all indications that flu activity is high and likely to continue for several more weeks", Schuchat said. According to the CDC's most recent data, we are experiencing nearly twice as many cases as we typically would by this time of year. More potent yearly vaccines could make it through the pipeline sooner, he said. "And I am anxious for the other people who may have been exposed to it". Most seniors were first exposed to H1N1 viruses and their bodies seem to handle them better, but H3N2 viruses - which didn't spread broadly in the United States until the late 1960s - seem to be harder for their bodies to deal with.

Scientists are still trying to puzzle out why the vaccine was relatively ineffective this season. There are hundreds of viruses that can cause flu-like symptoms.

Some research suggests that newer vaccines, using newer production methods, seem to work better against recently circulating H3N2 strains, but not enough people in the effectiveness study got those kinds of shots to compare performance.

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