Flu Bug Blog

Week 7 of the seasonal flu season (Feb. 10-16) as we see light at the end of the tunnel…..

Here we are into Week 7 of the seasonal flu season (Feb. 10-16) and as you can tell from a lack of media attention, the situation is improving across most of the country according to CDC.  Take a look at the map below and you’ll see that many states are no longer reporting widespread flu activity.

Even the death rate associated with influenza and pneumonia, while still at epidemic levels, is trending downward.

However, what is grabbing media attention currently is the less-than-great efficacy of this season’s vaccine on the general population, especially the older population.  According to CDC, “….The overall VE [Vaccine Efficacy] (adjusted for age group, study site, race/ethnicity, self-rated health status, and days from illness onset to enrollment) for all ages at preventing medically attended influenza A and B virus infections was 56% (95% confidence interval = 47%–63%). ….”  This could explain to a large extent why you got the “bug” despite getting immunized.

I’m sure there’ll be some scratching of egg-heads over these findings, but the bottom line is that the flu vaccine is still the first line of defense and these recent findings shouldn’t dissuade you from getting the vaccine next season.

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About Dr. Paul Rega

Paul Rega is a board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health & Disease Prevention and the Department of Emergency Medicine. A passion in Disaster Medicine has resulted, over the years, in multiple deployments, research and education both nationally and internationally. This has branched out into developing strategies associated with counter-terrorism and pandemics. Currently, Paul is assisting with H1N1 preparedness and response within UT and into the region.




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