Flu season shows signs of ebbing, but risk remains

Next Year You'll Be Able to Get Your Flu Shot Without a Needle

Next Year You'll Be Able to Get Your Flu Shot Without a Needle

The county's department of health staff has been working diligently to provide information to its citizens about the severity of this flu season, as well as tips to reduce the risk of exposure, Freeholder Patrick Impreveduto said.

The number of flu-related deaths continues to rise in Arizona.

Summit County reported that although influenza-related activity slowed in recent weeks, the county had three additional flu-related deaths between January 28 and February 19. "For that season, overall hospitalization was 64.2 per 100,000; hospitalization rates for people 65 years and older were 308.8 per 100,000".

He expects this year's flu season to run as late as April.

Even at this point in the season, health officials recommend people get a flu shot if they haven't already. The most common circulating viruses might mutate after the World Health Organization chooses its reference strains in February. "It's very complicated and may be different in children than in older adults".

The CDC says about half those children did not have underlying conditions and only a quarter of them had been vaccinated.

The CDC tracks "flu-like illnesses" because viruses other than influenza, such as respiratory syncytial virus, can provoke flu-like symptoms too.

The other nine deaths are related to influenza type A.

H3N2, an elusive influenza A virus that has been the main culprit in this season's reduced vaccine effectiveness, remained the predominant strain, but the CDC noted a continued upswing in influenza B viruses, which in not unusual for late-season activity.

"The effectiveness of this formulation against [H1N1] is not known, and is likely to remain unknown until the next H1N1 predominant season, presuming adequate uptake of vaccine".

At the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting earlier this week, CDC researchers updated committee members on this influenza season.

"In our case it is not the same- we are not having such an active or such a severe flu season at present".

The vaccine is only 25 percent effective against the H3N2 strain, which is causing most of the flu cases across the country and the state.

You might feel like you need a second booster shot, but doctors only recommend young children get vaccinated twice.

"Because it takes 10 to 14 days for the influenza vaccine to be effective, that's why I would say I wouldn't be encouraging vaccination at this time".

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