Saturday, December 13, 2014

This Year's Flu Vaccine Has Mutated

Speaking of genetic drift, the CDC has announced that this year's flu vaccine is less effective due to the mutation of this year's prominent strain, H3N2. This strain of Influenza A has been associated with more severe flu and complication, especially in vulnerable populations such as the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions such as asthma or heart problems.

It's too late to create another version of the flu vaccine this year, Frieden said, because even with modern production technology, it typically takes about four months to produce the vaccine.

Of course, the vaccine is still very effective in reducing the risk of contracting influenza and decreasing the severity of the illness if one catches it. Officials at the CDC have stressed that it is still critical to get vaccinated. So far this year, five children in the United States have died from the flu. In past years, studies have shown 98% of children who do die from flu have not been vaccinated.
During the 2012-2013 flu season 12,337 people were hospitalized with flu-related illness and 149 children died, according to CDC surveillance data. Ninety percent of those children were not vaccinated.


By Kasiemobi Udo-okoye

Reference:  http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/04/health/flu-vaccine-mutated-virus/

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