Published: Sat, September 29, 2018
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Influenza: 80,000 people died from flu last season according to CDC estimates

Influenza: 80,000 people died from flu last season according to CDC estimates

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, revealed the total in an interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press.

The agency recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get the annual flu shot. "The flu, they can be bad sometime", said Emma Ball, 75.

"We don't know what's going to happen, but we're seeing more encouraging signs than we were early a year ago", Jernigan said.

A poll by Insights West, on behalf of London Drugs, shows 78% of British Columbians think it is important to get a flu shot. For the upcoming season vaccine manufacturers have estimated distributing up to 168 million doses of influenza vaccine in the U.S. Federal health officials said it's particularly important for people who are vulnerable to complications, such as children, pregnant women, older adults and people with chronic health conditions. Americans made about 900,000 hospital visits.

"Thousands of deaths in the United States and even more hospitalizations". Flu season starts Monday and peaks around Mardi Gras. Those predictions can be wrong, of course, but even when they are right vaccines can be mismatched to circulating viruses. Current U.S. pneumococcal vaccination rates are also below public health goals, according to the CDC.

Last year, 180 children died from the flu. About 80 percent of the children killed hadn't received a shot. The flu can range from mild to quite severe, and death is more common in the very young, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems, and once a person is exposed to the flu virus, he may develop symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days later, with the average being 2 days. "I'm afraid we've also learned that after acute flu, recovery may not be complete".

Still, vaccine science is flawed.

"Basically, this is a vaccine that can do other things", said the CDC's Jernigan. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are now made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with flu viruses that have been "inactivated" (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection. Its vaccine, created with genetic sequencing and grown with tobacco, can be retrofitted to immunize against nearly any virus so long as its DNA can be obtained. The whole process takes about six weeks. "The basic technology of growing vaccines in eggs has been a solution historically because we had no other options". Now it will last the entire flu season.

Standard influenza vaccine, which includes either three influenza viruses (trivalent - two influenza A and one influenza B) or four influenza viruses (quadrivalent - two influenza A and two influenza B).

Vaccinations can be done through your doctors office, at pharmacies or at Public Health.

"Some effectiveness is better than no effectiveness", Adams said. When people who are already frail they may never return to their pre-flu functional level. "Low efficacy rates don't help".

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