About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Health Officials Call for Flu Preparedness

by Anirudh on December 6, 2014 at 3:39 PM
Font : A-A+

 Health Officials Call for Flu Preparedness

US health authorities warned on Thursday that flu season could be especially severe this year. They also added that, due to genetic mutations, vaccine won't be as effective against some of the most prevalent flu strains.

So far this season, most flu patients in the United States have contracted seasonal influenza A H3N2 viruses.


This group of viruses was also the most common in the three deadliest flu seasons over the past decade, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Perhaps more worrying, the officials said, was that analysts have found genetic mutations in around half the H3N2 viruses analyzed this season.

The mutations mean the viruses no longer resemble the one used to develop this season's flu shot - which means even vaccinated people will have limited protection.

However, they noted it was still important to get flu shots -- emphasizing it could still help lessen the severity of symptoms, even if it doesn't block the virus entirely.

"We are still strongly recommending vaccination," said Joseph Bresee, chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at CDC.

"Vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses in past seasons," he added.

"Also, vaccination will offer protection against other flu viruses that may become more common later in the season."

In the 2007-2008 flu season - seasons typically peak between December and February - the predominant flu variation was a mutated H3N2 virus, the CDC said, but the vaccine still had an overall efficacy of 37 percent and 42 percent against H3N2 viruses.

The vaccine must be created months in advance in order to be ready for the upcoming flu season, and there is always the possibility the viruses will "drift" genetically in the meantime.

Currently, flu cases are still quite low in the United States.

"It's too early to say for sure that this will be a severe flu season, but Americans should be prepared," said CDC director Tom Frieden, reiterating calls for everyone to get vaccinated.

The CDC stressed that those most at risk from the flu - children under age five, pregnant women, and people over 65 - should be especially vigilant and seek treatment as soon as symptoms appear.

Source: AFP


Recommended Reading

Latest Tropical Disease News

Hope for Pregnant Women: New Malaria Study Offers Optimistic News
Pregnant women in Korogwe, Tanzania are found to have a high risk of contracting malaria, which is one of the deadliest diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nasal Swab can Help Detect Early Warning of Emerging Viruses
Can nasal swab test save you from emerging diseases? Yes, simple nasal swab can offer early detection of new deadly viruses.
<i>Naegleria Fowleri</i> Infection: Deadly Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills a South Korean Man
Brain-eating amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) infection claims a South Korean man's life.
Infrared Light Beam to Detect Malaria
Harmless infrared light is used to detect malaria with the help of a computer algorithm processed by a smart phone.
Monkeypox Virus in Testes of Non-human Primate Survivors Detected
Monkeypox virus may be shed into semen during both acute and convalescent stages of the disease in crab-eating macaques.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Health Officials Call for Flu Preparedness Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests