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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Widespread Flu Epidemic Grips America

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Ahhhh, just what the politicians need. . . another crisis.

41 States have been hit, so far, with an influenza season that has arrived earlier than normal.  The aggressive strain hospitalized 2,257 people, and by the end of 2012 killed 18 children.  Last year's flu season saw 34 pediatric deaths.  The season, however, has just begun.

Though most cases during this flu season, which is promising to be a severe one, had not been vaccinated, the effectiveness of the flu shot is not 100%.  In fact, this strain, it is being suggested, may not among those you would be vaccinated with.  The vaccination is for influenza A and influenza B, but a third strain, H3N2, is the one that is dominant this year, and that is the one that can cause a more serious illness.

As a result, many cases coming in are people who did, indeed, get their flu shots.

Causes for this can include becoming infected before the vaccination, becoming infected shortly after the vaccination because the flu shot takes time to become effective, or that the flu one is infected with was not covered by the flu shot.  Doctors state, however, that even if you get a strain not included in the flu shot, the vaccination will reduce the severity of the illness.

The CDC states that the dominant flu being reported is included in the vaccinations.

In addition to beginning early this year, with plenty of flu left for the next two months, the flu is spreading faster this year.  Currently, the southern and southeastern states are being hit the hardest.

The West is next.

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