Flu season shows signs of leveling off

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The United States is also now undergoing a severe flu season, with Centers for Disease Control acting director Dr Anne Schuchat saying days ago that flu was still on the rise.

The CDC admits that vaccine effectiveness estimates against influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been lower than estimates against influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses for several years.

With vaccines against common childhood diseases effective in more than 90 percent of people, why is targeting the flu so hard? "That means we have now received reports for 63 children who have died of the flu so far this season". Bloomstrand says we have many more weeks of the flu season left and urges those who haven't to get vaccinated. However, what's intriguing is that the vaccine is quite effective in protecting young children between the ages of six months to eight years against H3N2 - about 51 per cent - but nearly entirely ineffective for those 9-16. One of the flu strains spreading this season, H3-N2 is affecting children more than most.

Studies found many flu vaccines are not as effective because scientists grow them in chicken eggs.

The Louisiana Department of Health announced that they are officially extending its free flu shots, and they will be available while supplies last. This strain of the influenza virus has been known to be the reason for higher hospitalization and death rates. This process takes about four to six months, and sometimes flu strains mutate so much the shots don't provide adequate protection.

This season's flu shot has not been as effective as past seasons, and inaccurate test results make fighting the disease even more challenging.

"Clearly we need either better vaccines or better use of current vaccines, choosing those products that might work better", he said.

Once the strains are selected, the FDA produces materials in our laboratories that are critical for making the vaccine. There are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu during a bad year.

In all, the 2016-17 flu season in New Mexico saw 222 deaths: 27 adult flu deaths and 195 pneumonia deaths. "Sometimes they matter and sometimes they don't, but what seems to make the most difference is immune history".

This theory was supported when researchers gave ferrets that had never previously had the flu both the vaccine and the illness in 2013.

"In past seasons similar to this one, an estimated 34 million Americans have gotten sick with flu". It would protect people from many strains of the flu. But this season, new questions arose about the widely adopted egg-based vaccine production process, which was suspected to have reduced the shots' effectiveness, according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine commentary.

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