U.S. Flu Activity Low Right Now, but Rising

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FRIDAY, Dec. 14, 2018 (HealthDay Information) — Flu season is getting off to a gradual however regular begin, a U.S. well being official mentioned Friday.

As of now, solely Georgia is seeing excessive ranges of infections, however instances are being reported all through the nation.

“Flu exercise remains to be pretty low, however as anticipated now we have been seeing exercise slowly rising over the previous few weeks,” mentioned Alicia Budd, an epidemiologist on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

It is too quickly to inform how unhealthy this yr’s flu season might be. “Sadly, we do not have a crystal ball to understand how badly we’re going to fare throughout this flu season,” Budd mentioned.

Peak exercise can happen anytime between December and February, she mentioned.

The commonest kind of flu round now could be influenza A H1N1, which is accounting for about 80 p.c of the flu viruses being reported, Budd mentioned.

As well as, one other A pressure, H3N2, can also be being seen, making up about 20 p.c of the viruses reported, she mentioned.

“H3N2 is on the market, however at a lot decrease ranges than we noticed final yr,” Budd mentioned. It was that pressure that made flu so extreme final yr, when 1 million folks had been hospitalized and 80,000 died.

Each of these kinds of flu are included on this season’s flu vaccine, in addition to one or two influenza B strains. This yr’s vaccine appears effectively matched to those strains, so it can probably be more practical than final yr’s vaccine, Budd mentioned.

As a result of H1N1 is the predominant flu pressure round now, she thinks the vaccine’s effectiveness may very well be as excessive as 65 p.c.

It is not too late to get vaccinated, Budd mentioned. If you have not gotten a flu shot, it is time, she mentioned. It will possibly take as much as two weeks in your physique to mount a protecting immune response.

“Now’s the time to get vaccinated whereas flu exercise is low, particularly if you are going to get along with household over the vacations,” Budd mentioned.

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