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The Tennessee Department of Health reports a small amount of the flu vaccine is available on the first-come-first-served basis at local health departments.

It's not ideal, but this year's flu vaccine is a fairly good match for the circulating viruses, US health officials reported Thursday.

The vaccine's estimated effectiveness against the influenza B virus was 73%.

"Vaccination is the key to protecting people at risk and the rest of the population; it's the best tool for that", Morrow said.

"Interestingly enough we do not have any now diagnosed patients with the flu as inpatients at Laughlin Memorial Hospital", Laughlin Human Resources Director Noah Roark said Monday afternoon.

The predominant strain is the A (H3N2) which is covered in this season's flu vaccine. "The prediction for the H3N2 virus was right on in terms of that particular virus continuing to be a dominant virus". Scientists have identified almost 600 variations of the virus this season.

Overall, Robinson described this as an average flu season, but said people should still take the virus seriously.

"It can actually go into March and if you look at past years' flu cases, there can be a peak into March", Rother says.

They also identified two novel influenza A infections.

Meanwhile, it was found to be less effective in children between the ages of 9 to 17 years old (32 percent effective), those 18 to 49 (19 percent effective) and those over the age of 65 (46 percent effective).

According to a joint news release issued by the region health systems, during the week of January 29 through February 4, Mountain States hospitals recorded 86 positive flu cases. There have been 20 pediatric deaths reported so far this season. "However it still is a protective effect against those children getting really sick from influenza". "Activity is increasing in some of the Midwest and the East Coast".

From September 2016 to print time, the health department reported 12 cases of influenza-related hospitalization.

In addition to these two flu vaccines, vaccines also are available to help prevent pneumonia.

Dr. Brian Chow, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center, said between 40 to 200 children nationwide die of the flu or flu-related illnesses every year.

The committee's decision is based on information from more than 100 countries, where influenza-monitoring centers conduct surveillance of circulating viruses.

"So, there are a lot of hospitalizations and deaths prevented when the vaccine is not as ideal as we would like", he noted.

Of patients who tested positive for influenza, 45% had been vaccinated, while 55% of patients who tested negative for influenza had received the vaccine.

This is shaping up as a moderately severe flu season, he added.

Often times the common cold is mistaken for the flu.

Goldberg said another important defense is getting a flu shot.

The number of flu illnesses and strep throat infections in students at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Lake Charles was so high recently they canceled classes last Friday and Monday of this week.

"So half a loaf is better than none", said Schaffner.

That's why fresh flu vaccine cocktails are needed each year.

"But for H3N2, it's as good as we have seen for some of the H3N2 seasons that have been well matched".

As the seasonal flu continues to take its toll on area school systems. "It's not too late if you haven't already".

"If you haven't gotten vaccinated and you haven't gotten sick yet, run - do not walk - this afternoon".

State health officials issued an advisory Wednesday addressing the flu cases and revealing what Alabamians can do to protect themselves. Another this year. But there are other ways health officials monitor the spread of the flu.

"If influenza is suspected, it doesn't have to be confirmed", Flannery said.


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