Current Flu Shot's Effectiveness Pegged at 48% — CDC

"Flu activity is what we call "wide-spread", meaning it's present in every county in the commonwealth", said Dr. Loren Robinson with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

USA health officials say the flu vaccine seems to be working pretty well this season. "This may end up being a bad year for kids, but we just don't know yet. A lot of this is timing".

Hospitalizations among people in their 50's and 60's are also increasing, and may actually be outpacing those for children, the CDC reported.

Specifically, the report said that from January 29 to February 4, the percentage of patients visiting the doctor for flu-like symptoms was 4.8 percent. That is particularly important for the most vulnerable: the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill.

Rinse, wash, repeat: that is the message from the Centers for Disease Control again this week as the flu virus reaches new highs for the season.

CDC officials hope to see flu activity peak later this month, but infections could continue to increase until March.

She said insurance providers also have information on where the vaccine is available. But it's a less severe year than the 2014 to 2015 flu season, when the percentage of doctor's visits for the flu peaked at 6.1 percent. H1N1 and B viruses are also circulating.

As well, the H3N2 component of the flu vaccine has not worked as well as other components in recent years. "When the baby is born, it has some protection until they can get vaccinated at six months of age". "The flu shot is still the best way to make sure you and your loved ones are protected". Patients were considered vaccinated if at least one dose of any seasonal influenza vaccine was received at least 14 days prior to illness onset.

As the virus continues to sweep across the epidemic levels, vaccine effectiveness level was 48 percent against acute respiratory illness from the end of November through February 4, according to an analysis of 3,144 people enrolled in the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network.

And remember these three important things: Wash your hands frequently, cough and sneeze into your sleeve and stay home from work or school when you're sick until there have been 24 hours without symptoms. Tamiflu and Relenza are effective if taken early. Unfortunately, that's not the strain affecting the most people this flu season.



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