Flu deaths continue to climb


Even in Maryland, some deaths have been reported in connection with the virus. "People should continue getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures to prevent getting sick".

More: Is Tamiflu the answer for your flu? The child had experienced flu-like symptoms including fever and difficulty breathing. "Every individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine - not just for their own protection, but to protect others around them who may be more vulnerable to the flu and its complications". Among the 54 whose vaccination status was known, 74 percent had not been vaccinated.

The vaccine was somewhat effective in young children, but it was almost ineffective for older people, including seniors who are most vulnerable.

According to influenza surveillance reports compiled by the LDH for the week of January 28 to February 3, reported cases of people with influenza-like illnesses are more than twice the activity seen in a typical flu season.

That includes people 65 and older, a group that tends to suffer the highest hospitalization and death rates during H3N2 seasons. That data will come later.

In any case, this year does not appear to be the worst recent year for overall vaccine effectiveness.

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Anyone who's had the flu knows of that particular kind of misery, which can put people out of commission for days - or worse. The antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses in the vaccine. "We may be on track to reach or even exceed those records", said Anne Schuchat, CDC acting director.

"The strains that are circulating are the strains we predicted". Department officials believe New Brunswick's high numbers are because of the longer flu season, and co-circulation of both strains. This year, vaccines are preventing 36% of those illnesses, the report said. Some are stronger for older people with weaker immune systems and some are made using newer technology.

"This year, the cell-based influenza vaccine appears to have somewhat better effectiveness in preventing influenza than the egg-based vaccine", Gottlieb said, based on a preliminary CDC analysis. If you think you have the flu, call or visit your doctor.

Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania who studies flu vaccines, said this year's vaccine is about as effective against H3N2 as last year's was, but it's still valuable to get the shot.

"Getting vaccinated does not mean you won't get sick, but it can lessen your illness", Adams said.