Brazos Valley seeing more flu cases this year

Dr. Thomas Frieden director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receives a flu shot

But if you haven't gotten your flu shot already, are you doomed to become one of them? 53 were diagnosed with the type A flu virus, and 49 others were confirmed with the type B influenza. In the last week, cases in Washington State are also on the rise.

"We are using the same vaccine that the Australians used during their flu season and the virus that's circulating here so far seems to be similar to the virus that gave them such problems", Fauci said. Those cases resulted in between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths each year. In Australia, where winter flu season occurs during the Northern Hemisphere's summertime, health officials saw quite a bit of flu cases caused by the H3N2 strain-a strain typically associated with more hospitalizations and more deaths.

In its December 1 weekly flu report, the CDC changed the state's activity rating from "regional" to "widespread", the worst rating among states so far this year.

Doctors add that even if the vaccine is only 10% effective, it's still important to get one.

Flu vaccinations or washing your hands frequently can help prevent contracting the virus.

This possibility underscores the need to strive toward a "universal" influenza vaccine that will protect against seasonal influenza drift variants as well as potential pandemic strains, with better durability than current annual vaccines.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting that flu activity is increasing, most significantly in the southeastern part of the state.

"It doesn't necessarily mean flu shots won't work here, or suggest how intense our flu season will be, but it's a good predictor", Crain stated.

Since the beginning of October, 144 flu cases had been reported to the Brazos County Health Department through November 25, as well as 176 influenza-like illnesses.

Despite those misgivings, she encourages the elderly and those with underlying heart and lung conditions or with suppressed immune systems, who are vulnerable to influenza and its complications, to get their shot to obtain "all the protection you can get".

"I think that the key preventative strategy, regardless of how effective that vaccine is going to be this year in the United States, is to get vaccinated", says Dr. Lopez.

"We often see a season last three months, so there's still time to do it", Dr. Richard Zimmerman, a physician at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told Newsweek. Nationwide since October 1, 566 have been hospitalized for influenza and 148 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed.

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