Oklahoma reports first two flu deaths; virus already worse than previous year

Ebony Scott
December 1, 2017

The numbers in Oklahoma are already worse than previous year. Across the globe, there are an estimated 3 million to 5 million severe flu cases each year and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths.

Last flu season's vaccines were found to be 34 percent effective against H3N2 in the US, leading to widespread misery.

Quadrivalent vaccine These flu vaccines protect against four strains of influenza-two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. Including a second strain of influenza B provides broader protection. The most deaths were prevented during the 2012-2013 season, when almost 9,400 deaths were prevented by vaccination, despite modest estimated vaccine effectiveness that season.

"If you look historically and put things into perspective, there's variability in flu seasons". The most common flu strain there was the influenza A virus known as H3N2, and the vaccine given to Australians had an effectiveness of only 10 percent, according to preliminary estimates.

The perspective called for more research to be done in developing a universal flu vaccine, which could protect against all seasonal flu variants and strains and would eliminate the need for people to get flu shots each year.

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"But this mutation we identified could be used to make that component of the vaccine a little stronger, thereby improving vaccine efficacy", Pekosz says. The vaccine stimulates the body's immune system to make antibodies, which can recognize and attack that specific strain of virus inside the body.

"The risk of getting flu and getting very ill is higher, time off work is higher when we don't get the flu shot", said Dr. Charmille Hare of Piedmont Locust Grove in Georgia.

MYTH 4: Everyone receives the same type of flu shot.

"One of the best ways to avoid getting sick during flu season is to get an annual flu vaccine", said Rep. Sue Scherer.

If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever. Some people never show any signs of flu symptoms and may act as carriers of the virus, infecting their loved ones. "Your best chance at protecting yourself and loved ones is to get a flu shot soon".

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