State Reports 153rd Flu Death This Season

State Reports 153rd Flu Death This Season

In every other age group, the numbers were low, falling in a range that made them essentially ineffective in preventing flu, statistically speaking.

What that number means is that if you are vaccinated and you run into a flu virus, you have a 64 percent chance of getting sick.

In a year in which more than 50,000 Americans may die because of the flu and 63 child deaths have been reported, even imperfect vaccines are valuable, said Aaron Glatt, chairman of the department of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. He is a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

There are several weeks remaining in the flu season. Those who are having flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, fatigue and chills are encouraged to stay home from public gatherings until they are able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication.

Tina Tan, an internist who is state epidemiologist for the New Jersey Department of Health, said that no vaccine is flawless and this one is still helping some people.

And the worst is probably not over, she said.

Individual vaccine efficacy ranged from 25% (95% CI 13%-36%) against influenza A (H3N2) to 42% (95% CI 25%-56%) against influenza B viruses to 67% (95% CI 54%-76%) against influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 viruses, reported Brendan Flannery, PhD, lead investigator for the CDC's U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network, and colleagues.

Flannery and colleagues wrote that despite "ongoing challenges" with the H3N2 component since the 2011-2012 season, vaccine efficacy was higher in the US for this strain than it was in Australia (10%) and Canada (17%). And, it offered 33 percent effectiveness for those aged 18 to 49.

"The risk for H3N2 associated medically attended influenza illness was reduced by more than half (59 percent) among vaccinated children", the team noted.

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Because of the vaccine's limited effectiveness, the use of antiviral medications to treat flu patients is especially important this season, according to the CDC.

Fifteen year-old Kira Molina, a previously healthy girl, died just five days after first presenting flu symptoms in early February.

This study does not include data on how well the vaccine prevented deaths of serious flu requiring hospitalization, the CDC pointed out.

Flu has been particularly widespread this year, at times affecting virtually all of the United States. The U.S. rate was "similar" to the final vaccine efficacy numbers for the 2016-2017 season for this strain, the researchers said.

"Our best advice is to get a flu shot if you haven't already", Stumpf said. And 53 percent of those who did not have flu had been vaccinated.

According to the most recent reports from state health departments, the flu is still a potent force in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

There is no reason that you should not get your flu vaccine before flu season starts.

GP consultations for flu-like illness fell last week to 65.7 per 100,000 population from 72.3 per 100,000 in the previous week. Despite medical professionals' almost universal recommendation that patients get the flu vaccination, the percentage of those who opt out continues to rise. In 2009, 15 were reported.

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