CDC warns about worse flu season than years past

Toni Houston
December 8, 2017

Brace yourselves: a key flu strain may be more aggressive this year, and experts say the vaccine could be dramatically less effective than in the past.

Researchers warned the implications for the Northern Hemisphere may not be the same, although the vaccine Australia used has the same composition as the one the U.S.is using. "That's the universal flu project".

Two people in Flathead County have died due to circumstances related to influenza, according to the Flathead City-County Health Department.

And so word comes from the New England Journal of Medicine that preliminary estimates indicate this year's vaccine is just 10 percent effective against a particularly nasty strain of the virus - H3N2 - that has predominated lately in Australia.

The issue with vaccines is that makers have to guess which strains of the flu to combat. It is one of the best ways to prevent contracting the flu virus. The structure of this protein resembles a lollipop; the cap, or head, resembles the candy portion, while the stem, or stalk, of the protein resembles the lollipop stick.

No doubt, the flu vaccine has saved millions and millions of lives over the last 80 years, but it's still a bit of a crap-shoot year to year.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Although this area is also capable of mutating, it possesses a certain degree of stability in order maintain its ability to anchor inside the cell.

Dr. Lopez says one reason is because not everybody responds to the vaccine. It's a less effective match for the B strains, which so far account for only a small handful of reported lab results in Maine. "Their laboratory has been thinking about influenza for a long time and has all the tools in place to tackle this problematic pathogen".


'A lot more research needs to be done to get a vaccine that works every time for every season for everyone but I still encourage everyone to get it, ' Dr Tosh insists.

The project ultimately seeks to become a global initiative taking the impact of age, gender, and exposure into account.

Kelley said it is too soon to know what kind of flu season we will have. The vaccine has the same formulation as the one in the United States.

"We want to continue to emphasize that vaccine is better than no vaccine and vaccine can prevent death, especially in children", Jackson said.

While this global vaccine will not be ready for some time, the research behind it is now in the works. December 3-9 is the CDC's National Influenza Vaccination Week.

While some seasons don't kick off until February, we are already seeing a surge in people hospitalized with influenza-like symptoms - at a rate even faster and earlier than we saw in 2014.

Other ways to stay healthy that you may not think of include staying active and managing stress, which can help give your immune system a boost.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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