Vaccinations in United Kingdom may do little to halt deadly 'Aussie flu'

BARNESVILLE FLU 2

Last season, national numbers were about 120,000 reported cases, although the actual number is much higher because many cases of flu are not reported if the symptoms are not severe and the patients recover without seeing a doctor.

Although the number of flu-related deaths recorded in Ireland so far is under ten, 73 people have been hospitalised and the Irish Health Service Executive is urging people to get vaccinated.

This compared with 8.7 consultations per 100,000 in the week before, and pushes the number of cases above levels normally expected for this time of year.

A few months back, the first warnings arrived about the H3N2 virus (aka the "Aussie Flu") - which saw both Australia and New Zealand hit with their worst outbreaks on record - and that the virus would most likely make it to the United Kingdom, becoming the worst flu season on record. Lawrenchuk says the virus mutates from year to year so it's very hard to predict with 100% certainty which strain will be circulating in a community. "It is a piece of the flu that they put into you so your body can respond to it and then when it sees that piece of the flu again on a real flu virus it can attack it".

Dr Kelleher added: "The most important thing is that if people think they've got it is to stay at home and look after themselves". The annual vaccine is created to protect against three or four flu strains a season.

"It is not too late to get the flu vaccine if you haven't already received one this season", Thomas said. "The flu vaccine is made to protect against the flu viruses that research and surveillance indicate will likely be most common during the season". Randy Bergen, clinical lead for Kaiser Permanente's flu vaccination program in Northern California. "There is some risk from feeling sore from getting the flu shot but it is not a disabled virus".

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State Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Brunswick, said he's concerned that ME still doesn't have enough public health nurses on hand if a flu epidemic were to break out this season.

"What that number doesn't tell you is if you get the flu, it may be milder and a shorter course than it would be".

PHE advises to avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker declared last week that influenza is now prevalent in the state, triggering a requirement that health care workers who have not been immunized must wear masks in areas where patients are typically present.

However, the North Dakota Health Department has been reporting higher than normal influenza activity this season, primarily in the southern part of the state. Flu shots can also be administered through local healthcare providers and pharmacies.

Government statistics showed 1,111 people were struck down with the disease as temperatures plummeted last week - a 156 per cent jump on the previous seven days.

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