Experts say this flu season will be a bad one

Flu season hits Massachusetts early as experts worry vaccine won't match dominant strain

What's more, this year's flu shot may not be up to the task.

The flu virus is spread through droplets of saliva and mucus from the nose and mouth of someone who coughs or sneezes.

Jacquie O'Brien, the public health nurse in Attleboro, said she has only one confirmed case of the flu reported to her so far, but AnnMarie Fleming, who holds the same position in North Attleboro, said her town had four confirmed cases by the end of November. "We generally start seeing an increase about now, and we'll gradually see more as time goes on".

Adding to the concern is a report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine that estimated the current vaccine is only about 10 percent effective against this year's flu strain.

"If you've been vaccinated you're much less likely to have very severe illness, less likely to need to be hospitalized, and less likely to die. the vaccine is must more effective if you happen to catch one of the other strains of the flu that's cirruclating". From Oct. 1 to December 2, a total of 254 confirmed flu cases have been reported in Philadelphia and its four suburban counties, with 80 of those cases in Delaware County.

Though the vaccine may not be ideal, Zimmerman emphasized that it's still a good idea to get it to protect not only one's own health, but also the health of loved ones.

"It's estimated that between 15,000 and 35,000 deaths are caused each year by the flu and its complications", DeMaria said. "It is also notable to state that over time the flu vaccine does wear off, making it necessary to receive it annually".




To find out where to get a flu shot the Florida Department of Health suggests you contact your doctor or your local county health department.

"That's why it's so important to get your flu shot vaccine".

Two Flathead County residents have become the first Montana residents to suffer influenza-related deaths this flu season.

This year's vaccines targets the same strains as last year.

Those individuals may have a weakened immune system, therefore making it more hard for them to fight off the flu. Each year, 2 or 3 strains of influenza virus circulate throughout the northern and southern hemispheres.

"People from those areas are getting ready to travel for the winter holidays, and they'll bring flu with them", Mills said.

"I think that the key preventative strategy, regardless of how effective that vaccine is going to be this year in the United States, is to get vaccinated", says Dr. Lopez.

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