CDC: Flu Blamed for 84 Child Deaths This Season

20 February, 2018, 20:21 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Why it's been such a tough flu season for children

The CDC admits that vaccine effectiveness estimates against influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been lower than estimates against influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses for several years.

Another 22 children have died of the flu according to the CDC, but rates of the illness have stabilized for the first time this season.

Q: Is it too late to get my daughter a flu shot? However, what's intriguing is that the vaccine is quite effective in protecting young children between the ages of six months to eight years against H3N2 - about 51 per cent - but nearly entirely ineffective for those 9-16.

Still, it counts as one of the most intense flu seasons in more than a decade. The majority of flu vaccines given around the world are also grown in eggs, which can cause the virus to mutate and differ from circulating strains, and thus become less protective.

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While no flu vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing one from getting the flu, there is still value in receiving your flu shot. The influenza virus' activity is twice as high this time of year than it has been in prior years. There have been a considerable amount of deaths in the both Children and adults this season, and the season is not over yet.

Children with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, heart conditions or seizures are also at increased risk for developing influenza-related complications, and the illness can exacerbate their underlying medical problems. While it's a good sign that flu activity is starting to level off, it's a far cry from the precipitous drop in doctor visits typically seen when a busy season starts to come to a close.

Researchers often test the relationship between different flu strains, or how well infection or vaccination to one strain protects you from infection with another, in lab animals like ferrets.

'Some protection is better than none, ' Dr Schuchat said.

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Benton spent years researching the flu vaccine.

Once the strains are selected, the FDA produces materials in our laboratories that are critical for making the vaccine.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure the availability and affordability of the flu vaccine, and I encourage everyone to stay vigilant and get vaccinated". They cite factors such as age, baseline health status and that year's vaccine "match" - the similarity between the viruses used to make the vaccine and the ones that are prevalent in a certain year.

Of course, the Holy Grail would be the so-called "universal influenza vaccine", at least universal across all those influenza A strains. It is thought that non-egg-based vaccines are less likely to have mutations that lead to less protective effects.

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'The flu is incredibly hard to predict and we don't know if we've hit the peak yet, ' Dr Schuchat said.

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