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Flu Vaccine 23 Percent Effective, So Take Extra Precautions: CDC

Image: Flu Vaccine 23 Percent Effective, So Take Extra Precautions: CDC
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By    |   Friday, 16 Jan 2015 11:33 AM

The flu vaccine this season is only 23 percent effective, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while asking the general public to take extra precautions to protect themselves from getting sick.

The CDC reported that annual flu vaccine effectiveness studies since the 2004-2005 season have found effectiveness to range from 10 to 60 percent.

"Physicians should be aware that all hospitalized patients and all outpatients at high risk for serious complications should be treated as soon as possible with one of three available influenza antiviral medications if influenza is suspected, regardless of a patient's vaccination status and without waiting for confirmatory testing," said a statement from Joe Bresee, branch chief in CDC's influenza division.

"Health care providers should advise patients at high risk to call promptly if they get symptoms of influenza," said Bresee.

The CDC reported that the H3N2 virus appeared to be the dominate strain of the flu spreading across the United States this year, threatening older people and young children.

"In addition, approximately two-thirds of H3N2 viruses that have been tested at CDC are anti-genetically or genetically different from the H3N2 vaccine virus," said the CDC. "This difference suggests that vaccine effectiveness may be reduced this season. High hospitalization rates are being observed, similar to what was seen during the 2012-2013 influenza season."

"In this context, the use of influenza antiviral drugs as an adjunct to vaccination becomes even more important than usual in protecting people from influenza. Antiviral medications are effective in treating influenza and reducing complications," said the statement.

The Washington Post reported that researchers studied data from 2,321 children and adults in five different states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin – to determine the current vaccine's effectiveness.

The CDC has pushed people to seek antiviral medications if they get the flu, which could lessen their symptoms and help the rid out their sickness, noted the Post.

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The flu vaccine this season is only 23 percent effective, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while asking the general public to take extra precautions to protect themselves from getting sick.
flu, vaccine, 23, effective, cdc
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2015-33-16
Friday, 16 Jan 2015 11:33 AM
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