Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Buckle Up for a Bumpy Flu Season

 The coming 2014-2015 flu season is projected to be a bad one. The CDC’s influenza surveillance report found that 82% of the 103 flu samples studied from this season already were of the H3N2 variety – a particularly aggressive variety.

The current flu vaccine protects against two influenza A strains, and luckily the circulating H1N1 strain has been found to match the vaccine strain – A/California/7/2009. It’s also been reported that the current vaccine protects against the Influenza B strains present in the environment. What’s alarming though, is that the vaccine only protects against a very small subset of the many H3N2 viruses – most of which resemble the strain, A/Switzerland/9715293.

Thus, physician caseloads are expected to get a bit heavier this season with the vaccine mismatch at hand. The next available step for unprotected patients is antiviral medication, and access must be boosted to meet the likely demand.

- Emma Rastatter

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