CDC: Flu Vaccine 36 Percent Effective So Far

It's not too late to get a flu shot

It's not too late to get a flu shot

The strain also mutated while the vaccine itself was being developed, rendering the vaccines less effective than a typical flu vaccine.

Based on data obtained from over 4,000 participants enrolled in the Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network, flu shots have proven to be 59 percent effective in younger patients aged 6 months through 8 years and 36 percent effective in older patients.

Vaccine effectiveness is tricky to measure, because there is no way to know how many vaccinated people never got ill at all.

"Although not 100 percent effective, the flu shot may provide partial immunity and lessen the chance of developing severe illness", said Ferrell. The numbers were worse for H3N2.

The CDC also stated that the H3N2 virus tends to cause more suffering than other strains. "Even when you breathe, you breath out influenza viruses, so the transmission is by droplets from the airways, so people can be infectious for a day before they have symptoms".

A child under the age of 10 died from a flu-related illness, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Tuesday evening.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends antiviral drugs be used early to treat people who are very sick with the flu (for example, people who are in the hospital) and people who are sick with the flu and are at high risk of serious flu complications due to their age or because they have a high-risk medical condition.

The vaccine worked relatively well in young children, but it performed worse in older people, including seniors who are most vulnerable. "It's better than nothing", she said. Everybody else got no statistically significant benefit.

Schuchat said that the levels of people reporting influenza-like Illness, or ILI, are "around" what the US experienced during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. It is the highest level of influenza-like illness recorded since 2009.

"In view of the issues surrounding colds and flu that seem to be hitting our section, we are repeating the efforts to thoroughly clean and sanitize our schools", Scully said in a statement.

The CDC says 1 in 13 doctor visits last week was for flu symptoms.

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.

State's flu deaths up by 15 since last week
That strain, which always poses a vaccine challenge, is behind three-quarters of verified flu cases so far this season, CDC said. In Australia , for example, its effectiveness against H3N2 was pegged at 10 percent, and in Canada at 10 to 20 percent.

"I've been postponing this for a while, but with the death of a student on Monday, I chose to bring my children today", parent Taisha Madero said in reference to the death of 6-year-old Delilah Lovelace, who attended Golden Hill School. Flu strains mutate every year.

Flu has been particularly widespread this year, at times affecting virtually all of the United States. The CDC estimated that it had led to more than 17,000 hospitalizations through February 3.

This season's flu is one that continues to make headlines.

So far this flu season, Fauquier Hospital reported a total of 92 tests positive for both strains of the flu, said Daniel Ferrell, epidemiologist for the Virginia Department of Health in the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District.

Of those who did have influenza, 43 percent had been vaccinated.

A flu warning sign and a hand sanitizer station now greet visitors in the lobby of Cooper University Hospital in Camden as the hospital deals with an unusually busy flu season. The school absenteeism rate was above an average of the three highest flu seasons for the week but well below the peaks of previous seasons. New Brunswick has seen 883 reported cases, an increase of 145 cases in a week, resulting in 15 deaths.

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