Health officials brace for severe flu season

Posted December 08, 2017

"We are very concerned that we don't want that dissuading people from getting their vaccines because a whole uncovered population is going to be in a much worse potential condition because then you can see flu really spread among everyone", said Dr.

However, the problem with flu is that the virus constantly changes.

As of November 25, nearly 2,100 lab-confirmed cases had been detected in various parts of the country, of which 84 per cent were influenza A. Those infections resulted in 371 hospitalizations, including 21 ICU admissions, and eight deaths, the report says.

"The only time my husband and I ever got them, we've never been so sick in our lives so we've been avoiding them like the plague", said Tiffany King, who doesn't get a flu shot.

"Projects like this are why many of us do research", Creech said.

A faulty refrigerator will cost Ontario taxpayers $44,560 after a sudden freeze destroyed the efficacy of more than 5,500 flu vaccines stored in London. This time past year there were 155 reported cases. And in Australia, which used the identical vaccine as Canada's this past season, its effectiveness against H3N2 infection was far less - only about 10 per cent. 201 of those cases are from people who have had flu like illnesses. "It is also notable to state that over time the flu vaccine does wear off, making it necessary to receive it annually".

But while there has been an uptick in cases reported locally, said Sara Mendez, heath education and promotion director for the Brazos County Health Department, it doesn't yet mean the Bryan-College Station area will be hit particularly hard this year. According to the CDC, the best way *not* to get the flu, is to get vaccinated.

Almost 100 years ago, a horrific outbreak of influenza hit Philadelphia, infecting more than 47,000 residents.

"You can still get some partial protection just by having an antibody to those core components", Nelson said.

The Mass. Department of Public Health recommends anyone six months and older receive one vaccination per flu season.

"We're seeing earlier cases, and the predominant strain is H3N2, which is different from prior seasons", he adds.

"Even if the vaccine is only 10 percent effective against H3N2, the vaccine does protect against other strains that are circulating", he said. "And at the end of the day, to know that we might be able to protect the most vulnerable around us with a universal influenza vaccine - that's a reason to get excited about science".