Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Oklahoma reports first two flu deaths; virus already worse than a year ago

Dr. David Laposky Dr. David Laposky
Arthur Frazier | 01 December, 2017, 06:37

On Oct. 3, it was announced that Oxford University's Jenner Institute and Vaccitech, a biotech company, are developing a potential universal flu vaccine. Twenty-four Spokane County residents have been hospitalized with flu this season, compared to nine admissions during the same period past year.

The article is available online from the Vaccine journal's website.

While the outlook for the USA flu season is grim, Dr. Fauci maintained that Americans should still take the time to get a vaccination.

"What happened is, in the development of the vaccine, as we grow it in eggs, the virus itself mutated a bit, so that there was nearly an accidental mismatch purely on the basis of the virus trying to adapt itself to growing in eggs", Dr. Anthony Fauci told WTOP.

There are new concerns about this year's flu vaccine. The most common flu strain there was the influenza A virus known as H3N2, and the vaccine given to Australians had an effectiveness of only 10 percent, according to preliminary estimates. Viruses have a tendency to mutate over time, which makes the vaccine less effective.

FACT: Getting the flu vaccine, even later in the season, can still be beneficial. The viral pieces used in these vaccines are not living organisms but genetically engineered proteins that can be grown and propagated in bacteria, making the use of eggs unnecessary.

"The flu season is building", Bregier said.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Wedding: Where Will It Happen?
However, Prince Harry , like his brother, is likely to be made a duke when he marries, meaning Ms Markle would become a duchess. Ms Markle said: "Not being able to meet his mother, it's so important to me to know that she's a part of this with us".

Myth 4. Flu season is annoying but can't cause major harm.

This year's flu season could be more extreme than in year's past and as it turns out, the vaccine might not be as strong as experts hoped.

To create a vaccine for each flu strain, manufacturers grow billions of WHO-selected viruses in chicken eggs, STAT reports.

MYTH 5: Flu vaccines are only for really sick people.

"Just because it was the predominant strain in Australia six months ago doesn't mean it will be the predominant strain here", Dr. Charles Bregier, with Novant Health, said. Getting vaccinated may also help protect people around you who have a greater risk of serious illness, such as elderly people, patients with chronic conditions, pregnant women and young children. Some people never show any signs of flu symptoms and may act as carriers of the virus, infecting their loved ones.

Experts are also concerned about other strains of the flu viruses circulating that are particularly hard on older adults, Danuta Skowronski, an influenza epidemiologist at the British Columbia Center for Disease Control, told STAT.

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