Flu Season Exhibits First Indicators of Slowing

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By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 16, 2018 (HealthDay Information) — Whereas this flu season remains to be one of many worst seen in years, the primary indicators that an infection charges are beginning to degree off have been reported by U.S. well being officers on Friday.

As of Feb. 10, a complete of 43 states continued to expertise widespread flu exercise, down from 48 the week earlier than, in keeping with the newest surveillance report from the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

There was additionally a slight drop in physician visits for flu-like sickness: 7.5 p.c of affected person visits through the week ending Feb. 10, down from 7.7 p.c of affected person visits the week earlier than.

However the information was not all good, and it does not appear like the flu season is over but.

Flu-linked hospitalization charges continued to rise — from 59.9 per 100,000 individuals for the week ending Feb. three, to 67.9 per 100,000 individuals for the week ending Feb. 10, the findings confirmed.

Pediatric flu deaths are additionally nonetheless growing, with 84 youngsters now useless from the flu to date this season, in keeping with the CDC.

Simply Thursday, CDC officers pinpointed one motive why this flu season has been so brutal: the flu vaccine is barely 25 p.c efficient in opposition to H3N2 influenza, which is inflicting most flu circumstances this yr.

Amongst youngsters aged 6 months via eight years previous, nevertheless, the vaccine’s effectiveness is 59 p.c, the company reported.

Regardless of the poor match of the vaccine to the commonest pressure of flu, the CDC remains to be urging individuals who have not gotten a flu shot to get one, as a result of the vaccine is simpler in opposition to different kinds of flu.

As an example, the vaccine is 67 p.c efficient in opposition to the H1N1 flu, which was the 2009 pandemic flu and remains to be round. As well as, the vaccine is 42 p.c efficient in opposition to the influenza B viruses, that are additionally circulating, the researchers stated.

The flu shot’s general effectiveness in opposition to all strains was pegged at 36 p.c, the CDC stated.


However Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the company’s influenza division, pressured earlier this month that getting the flu shot remains to be worthwhile, particularly for teenagers.

“For this season, solely 20 p.c [of children who died from the flu] have been vaccinated, and half of those youngsters have been in any other case wholesome,” he stated. The deaths have been related to H3N2, H1N1 and influenza B strains — “all the several types of influenza are inflicting these deaths,” Jernigan famous.

Different nations are also experiencing a foul flu season due to the vaccine’s ineffectiveness in opposition to the H3N2 virus. In Australia, for instance, its effectiveness in opposition to H3N2 was pegged at 10 p.c, and in Canada it has been between 10 to 20 p.c.

The CDC recommends that everybody aged 6 months and older get a flu shot. The flu season most likely will not begin winding down instantly, the company defined.

Some individuals who get vaccinated will nonetheless get sick with flu, however could have milder circumstances. The CDC advises that people who find themselves very sick or who’re at excessive threat for critical flu issues ought to get antiviral drugs as quickly as flu signs seem.

The CDC’s flu vaccine replace was printed within the company’s Feb. 16 situation of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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