Published: Thu, March 01, 2018
Medical | By

New Flu Strain Spreading Fast Across Texas

New Flu Strain Spreading Fast Across Texas

"We're taking steps to investigate each of these potential causes, rule out possible reasons for the variation in effectiveness, and improve vaccine efficacy against H3N2".

There are three types of flu, but within those types, each virus has a specific strain.

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) meets on Mar 1 to discuss the World Health Organization's (WHO's) recently announced recommendations for the Northern Hemisphere's 2018-19 flu season.

It appears that this season's strain of influenza - the flu - is hitting Chester County harder than previous year, with local health officials reporting a spike in deaths from the illness.

The nasal spray has also been theorized to act as a preventative measure through its administration route because flu is typically spread through the respiratory system.

"Before this failure, this vaccine was actually preferentially recommended for children under the age of 8", Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Healthline. Moreover, this year is not the first time we have seen vaccines be less effective against this particular strain of influenza, H3N2. And why have vaccines in prior seasons when H3N2 circulated, also delivered reduced protection against this particular flu strain? The WHO recommends vaccination for global travelers for 21 Brazilian states, and the group is closely monitoring for signs that new areas are at risk.


Dr. Ashley Peko, assistant medical director of the emergency department at Parker Adventist Hospital, said getting a flu shot is still an important option for those who haven't already.

Numerous flu-related deaths reported this flu season were caused by pneumonia, Kao said. "Influenza virus is not transmitted by environmental surfaces to any degree".

A new study published by the CDC in the journal Pediatrics also concluded that even healthy kids are vulnerable. It has been driven by a formidable type of flu that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths. Pediatricians would like to believe that's true, and what was not said in public, but certainly been said in private to the pediatricians is: "you've got to prove it", he said.

Although the current vaccine is only about 25% effective against that particular strain, vaccination can still prevent thousands of cases of influenza, according to CDC. "Unfortunately, there will be another flu season to come".

Citing data provided by the Centers for Disease Control, Kao said that about 36,000 cases of flu-like illness were reported during the Lunar New Year holiday, and some of those who had serious complications were young or middle-aged people.

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