Vaccinations in United Kingdom may do little to halt deadly 'Aussie flu'

Stock image

Stock image

A flu vaccine, available at pharmacies and in good supply in the United States, may not offer adequate protection against Type A, subtype H3N2, the influenza virus strain now circulating in the country, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Thursday.

Local doctors say it is still not too late to get your flu shot even though the shot is only 10% effective, the shot could make the effects of the flu less sever if you get sick.

A further 73 have been hospitalised - causing medics to urge people to get vaccinated as the flue "actively circulates" in Ireland.

What are the symptoms of 'Aussie flu?' The HSE has in the last fortnight also been notified of a small number of deaths directly related to influenza (less than 10). Britain's flu season tends to mirror what has happened there.

Symptoms are similar to standard flu but they are far more severe.

"They [Australia] just had a lot of cases, the most they've had since 2009, which was a pandemic year", Dr. David Relman, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford Health Care, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"People in "at risk" groups can get the flu vaccine itself free of charge (people without medical or GP visit cards may be charged an administration fee)".

The PHE figures follow repeated predictions by researchers that the flu vaccine may only be 20 per cent effective this winter - just like a year ago.

Australia - whose winter occurs during the British summer - had one of its worst outbreaks on record, with two and a half times the normal number of cases.

Now Public Health England have revealed there has been a sharp rise in cases triggered by a surge in two aggressive sub-types of flu. The more people who get it, he said, the less likely there will be a serious flu problem in the country.

'The most important thing is that if people think they've got it is to stay at home and look after themselves'. Those over 65, pregnant women and those under 65 with various health conditions are particularly at risk. But a number of tragic deaths in Australia also showed how the H3N2 flu strain can prove lethal to healthy adults.

Britons are being warned that a "killer Aussie flu" epidemic which affected 250,000 Australians and left hundreds dead last winter is poised to strike the United Kingdom.

But two weeks ago, 522 cases of type A and 546 cases of type B were recorded across England and Wales - with 43 cases yet to be identified.

Some of the Australia's A&E units had "standing-room only" after being swamped by more than 100,000 cases of the H3N2 strain.

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