No end in sight for worst flu season in recent memory

Image of vaccine

This year's mix shows better protection against other now circulating strains of influenza, such as H1N1, than it does against H3N2.

"I urge everyone to get their child or children immunized", Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said. "This one arrived early and continues to spread, leading many people throughout the Commonwealth to get sick".

Others question the vaccine's effectiveness.

The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

Mid-South emergency rooms are seeing an increase in the number of visits. Department officials believe New Brunswick's high numbers are because of the longer flu season, and co-circulation of both strains.

Although the overall efficacy of this year's vaccine falls below 50 percent, it is still considered the best course of defense against the flu, as it is significantly more effective than previous formulations. Flu vaccines usually work better against H1N1 viruses, which are also circulating. That strain, which always poses a vaccine challenge, is behind three-quarters of verified flu cases so far this season, CDC said. "That's higher than we typically see for H3N2", Belongia tells The Washington Post.

"We've got a good vaccine but not a great vaccine".

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The CDC's final data analysis will be released by the end of the 2017-2018 flu season.

Cattaraugus County confirmed 54 additional reports of the flu within the last seven days, adding an nearly 20 percent increase to the seasons total.

According to the DPH, three deaths have been reported in Sussex County with the rest coming from New Castle County. It worked best for young children, aged 6 months to 8 years, where it was 59 percent effective. Monday, the Haverhill first grader became Massachusetts' first child to die of a flu-related illness. "Go get a flu shot", Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. He said he, his wife and two children have all been vaccinated. Health officials are also reminding clinicians to promptly treat flu patients - particularly young children and those who are who are at high risk of serious flu complications - with antiviral medications.

"It's mostly to protect my granddaughter, who has a low immune system", Woolf said. People must get a new vaccine every year to be protected.

Recent research suggests that the traditional production process may make flu vaccines less effective, especially for H3N2.

But even with all that, it's still a hard task to stave off the flu. "Fairly minor differences in genetic changes can lead to really meaningful differences in how much protection the vaccine is providing". Manufacturers grow flu viruses in chicken eggs.

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