What is the effectiveness of this year's influenza vaccine?


(CBS) – The United States is in the middle of a flu season and a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that this year's influenza vaccine seems to be working.

The CDC estimates that the vaccine has reduced by 47% the risk of consulting a doctor for an illness related to the flu this season. The effectiveness is even higher in children aged 6 months to 17 years, the number of medical visits to doctors was reduced by 61%.

"The numbers may change by the end of the season, but the important thing is that the vaccine provides some protection against circulating viruses," said Dr. Brendan Flannery of the CDC. CBS News.

According to the CDC, the predominant strain of the virus so far this season is the H1N1 virus in much of the country, although a strain called H3N2 is predominant in the southeast.

Even though influenza activity is lower than last year, the disease remains responsible for some 155,000 to 186,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 to 16,000 deaths in the country.

"This suggests a season with a significant number of deaths expected to increase," Flannery said. "We are also seeing 28 pediatric deaths so far this season, which is unfortunately also likely to increase."

Last season, the CDC estimated that 80,000 Americans died of the flu and its complications. This was the deadliest record in 40 years.

Health officials said that after a slow start, influenza activity has been accelerating in recent weeks and that it is now at its highest level since the beginning of the year. the season. The experts point out that if you have not received a flu shot yet, there is still time to get vaccinated.

You can also help prevent diseases such as the flu by following the instructions of the CDC:
– Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Try to avoid contact with sick people.
– If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
– If you have the flu, stay home at least 24 hours after leaving your fever, except for medical attention or other necessities.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread this way.
– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw away the tissue.
– Disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated by germs such as influenza.

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