Health Care

2017-18 Flu Season in US Dominated by H3N2 Viruses — CDC

2017-18 Flu Season in US Dominated by H3N2 Viruses — CDC”

The Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network, which is utilized to compile the weekly analysis of influenza activity in the state, is comprised of physicians, hospitals, schools, child-care centers, businesses, and long-term care facilities which track the occurrence of influenza-like illnesses and hospitalizations.

Fifteen people died from the flu a year ago, compared to the six deaths in the previous season.

Australia, which runs a season ahead of the United States, just went through a particularly rough flu season.

Although the number of Iowa flu cases reported through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network was increasing up until the week ending December 2, the latest week for which complete information is available, flu cases were listed as "sporadic".

"South Carolina is seeing more influenza-like illness and we would anticipate that would spread to us across our border in the near future", said Novant Health Medical Director Charles Bregier.

Despite this guidance, fewer than half of Americans have received a jab this season.

"Early indications are ... there may be more hospitalizations", he said.

Safranek also recommended antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu, for people with flu symptoms: a fever higher than 101 degrees, a cough or sore throat, muscle aches and exhaustion. Most people recover in less than two weeks. It can cause a wide range of complications, including pneumonia, bacterial co-infection, cardiovascular complications and the worsening of diabetes.

It's an age-old question, should you or shouldn't you get your flu shot? Those who aren't can protect themselves by washing or sanitizing hands, avoiding sick people, eating healthfully and getting plenty of rest. According to health officials, the problem is the flu virus is constantly changing.

Widespread vaccination also helps protect those who are more vulnerable to the flu, generally the very young and the very old.

With flu season upon us, along comes a troubling article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Many mothers-to-be, though, have not heeded this advice.

While it's unclear what the implications of what's going on in Australia are for the Northern Hemisphere, medical professionals here in Iowa still express a high degree of confidence in the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

Alberta has reported the most influenza cases.

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce people's risk of getting sick with the flu and spreading it to others. Vaccines are recommended for everyone older than 6 months, including pregnant women.

Winter is coming! It's time to line up and get your flu shot once again. Having a global estimate is useful, she said, and the country-specific estimates in the new study are valuable, because they can be used by country decision-makers.

And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection. Preliminary reports indicate that the flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective in Australia.

Flannery explained that the journal article looked at Australia's most recent flu season and highlights the low vaccine effectiveness against one type of influenza: the H3N2 strain predominating in the USA today. "Viruses mutate, we could see different strains here than they saw during their season".

Vaccine effectiveness (VE) against H3N2 viruses also is typically lower than VE levels against influenza H1N1 and influenza B viruses.

It is not too late to get vaccinated, and there are ample amounts of the vaccine available, Zucker said. However, among people who go to a doctor's office, "it's very hard to show there's a reduction in severity". "That's a concern", Flannery said. Almost 90 percent of the specimens that tested positive are of this type.

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