State's flu deaths up by 15 since last week

Simone Groper receives a flu shot at a Walgreens phramacy

14 more flu-related deaths reported in Connecticut

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths as a result of this season's flu in the United States surpassed the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. The flu season probably won't start winding down anytime soon, the agency explained.

The vaccine provided good protection - 67 percent effective - against another common kind of flu virus, Type A H1N1, which has not been seen much this winter. This year, vaccines are preventing 36% of those illnesses, the report said. The deaths were associated with H3N2, H1N1 and influenza B strains - "all of the different types of influenza are causing these deaths", Jernigan noted. That strain, which always poses a vaccine challenge, is behind three-quarters of verified flu cases so far this season, CDC said.

But some researchers say part of the problem is tied to how 85 percent of the nation's flu vaccine doses are made. The report is based on data from 4,562 patients, including some from MI. That's the highest weekly level CT has seen since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

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More: Is Tamiflu the answer for your flu? "Go get a flu shot". In Australia, for example, its effectiveness against H3N2 was pegged at 10 percent, and in Canada at 10 to 20 percent. The CDC estimated that it had led to more than 17,000 hospitalizations through February 3.

Based on these numbers, the answer is yes. So all the different vaccines on the market are lumped in together in vaccine effectiveness estimates. The Mayo Clinic cites many other causes of flu-like symptoms which may surface such as unexpected flu strains, other illnesses and the two-week lag between receiving the shot and being protected from the virus.

Health officials in CT say the state has seen 77 flu-related deaths this season, the highest number in five years.

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According to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office, the number of confirmed flu cases rose 35 percent and flu-related hospitalizations increased by 2 percent since last week. The death occurred here in Oklahoma County.

"The fact that the vaccine doesn't work as well as we would like is clearly a contributing factor", said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert.

"What we need are new approaches to vaccination", including, eventually, a universal vaccine that protects against all strains, for multiple years, Monto said.

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