Influenza B Making a Surge in the United States

Haverhill school officials reminded parents that free flu vaccines are available for children

According to the CDC the benefits, on the other hand, include a substantially reduced risk of catching the flu as well as reducing the severity of the flu if you contract it, which is especially important this season given the nationwide Tamiflu shortage.

Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania who studies flu vaccines, said this year's vaccine is about as effective against H3N2 as last year's was, but it's still valuable to get the shot. Whether it's peaking or not, flu season is still expected to last several more weeks. Overall, influenza A (H3N2) viruses were most prevalent across all age groups with 68%-72% of cases in patients aged 0-64 years, and 84% of cases among patients aged ≥65 years. It takes 6 to 9 months to create the vaccine so scientists make an educated guess at what strains will be circulating in the following flu season. "If 50 percent of the population were protected, one way or another, we could essentially prevent an influenza epidemic", he said.

It would make sense to see "a lot" of influenza deaths in the coming weeks, said Schuchat based on the fact that many people are now in the hospital.

Flu-related hospitalizations rose to about 68 people out of every 100,000 in the sixth week of 2018 from about 60 out of every 100,000 last week, the CDC estimated in its weekly surveillance report.

The CDC called this flu season the worst in years, adding that any degree of protection with a vaccine is better than none.

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Hensley also recommends seeing a doctor very soon after your symptoms begin. Most flu seasons start in the Southeast, in states like Florida, then move north and west.

Pneumococcal bacteria, which cause some cases of sepsis and meningitis as well as pneumonia, may be responsible for about a third of bacterial infections related to flu.

In early February, the CDC reported that the flu-like symptoms had spread to 46 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year. "All protect against two strains of Influenza A (H3N2, H1N1) and depending on the vaccine they provide protection against either one or two strains of Influenza B". The H3N2 strain, in particular, has been resistant to this year's vaccine.

And those numbers may be far off from the total cases that have affected local families.



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