This could be a bad flu season

2017 vaccine has low effectiveness rate

Most of the influenza viruses characterized during this time were genetically or antigenically similar to the 2017-2018 Northern Hemisphere cell-grown vaccine references viruses. Even healthy people can get sick with the flu and have serious complications. Prior to that, the county had logged 34 cases in the entire nine weeks of this year's flu season.

The vaccine's effectiveness can vary based on what virus strains are in circulation, both doctors admitted, but say it's still better than nothing.

'Immunization programs should work with community leaders to promote vaccination, ensure all members have access to flu vaccination, and ensure that all members understand the importance of flu vaccination in preventing disease, ' the authors said.

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It may not sound like a disaster, since this year's flu shot is only 10 percent effective against the difficult-to-stop H3N2 strain.

Influenza vaccines, also known as flu shots, are vaccines that protect against influenza.

Since September, there have been 106 lab-confirmed flu cases in the province, two intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and two outbreaks in long-term care facilities (LTC). More than double the number of cases are being reported compared to this time previous year.

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The new flu season is slowly arriving, and Will County Health Department epidemiology and infectious disease coordinator Dr. Alpesh Patel said that so far there are few surprises. "The virus is able to survive in you longer", she said.

"They have a less tropical climate, one that's more like ours", Patel said in a news release.

Dr. Dieckhaus recommends everyone over the age of six months receive the vaccine and says it's not too late to get one if you haven't already. "It's still early to make a specific prediction, but all indications point to high flu activity, so it's important that people start getting their flu vaccine now". Instead, the flu vaccine acts by allowing your immune system to create the ability to fight the flu in case you are exposed.

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"The majority of our cases are Influenza A, the H3 type, which is the same as what we saw last flu season, " she said. In 2016, the vaccine was 39% effective against all flu viruses and just 32% effective against the riskier H3N2 strain. "Therefore, you have much more closeness between people, making them more contagious if they are ill, especially during the holidays".

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