Deadly Flu Season Expected To Ramp Up

Posted February 15, 2018

You have a few more shots to get a free flu shot to help battle this particularly brutal flu season.

The CDC, along with the World Health Organization, make their recommendations for the flu vaccine, and the FDA approves the best option to be produced in the United States. In past seasons such as this, she said, an estimated 34 million Americans got the flu.

This year's unsafe flu season shows no sign of waning, and "may be on track to break some recent records".

Alicia Budd, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, provided the latest update on flu activity for clinicians last week, using data based on the most recent report for week 4, ending on January 27.

"We've become a little bit used to the idea that the flu vaccine is not a great vaccine", Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said during a forum Tuesday hosted by Harvard, Public Radio International's The World, and WGBH.

Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people whose immune systems are compromised are especially susceptible to the flu.

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And one person, who identified himself as a long-time health care provider, agrees it's tough to make the flawless flu vaccine.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health is still encouraging people to get vaccinated.

There are two types of vaccines available at the health clinic, the regular dose for most people, and the high dose for people over the age of 65.

Dr. Mark Loeb, an infectious disease expert with the department of medicine at McMaster University, told CBC's The Morning Edition components of influenza A an B are in every flu vaccine.

That was the sobering assessment offered Friday by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat.

While Influenza A H3N2 viruses are the dominant strain this season, an increasing proportion of B viruses are circulating (30 percent), as well as a smaller increase in the proportion of H1N1 viruses.

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Doctors say they're a bit bewildered as to why this season is so intense.

Flu A can include H3N2, and it's the strain responsible for more hospital visits and deaths this season.

"Flu season in Kentucky peaks in February and cases can extend into April and May", says spokesperson Kevin Hall. The flu has claimed the lives of seven Texas children in all.

The flu shot starts at $39.84 at Walmart. No fever, no cough, and no runny nose.

The CDC has reported 1 in 10 deaths in the USA now caused by influenza or pneumonia.

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