The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting more than 7,000 cases of influenza in the U.S.so far this season, more than double the number this time previous year.
Flu activity is now widespread in four states: Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
More than 7,000 cases of the flu have already been confirmed in the U.S.
"In a good year, the flu vaccine can be 70 percent effective".
The U.S. may also be in for a severe season, as the H3N2 strain has been a dominating presence in early reports. "We're not going to know vaccine effectiveness estimates until about January or February for the USA season".
"The flu vaccine is altered each year based on the surveillance data that experts collect to predict what strains of the virus will cause the most illness".
It's that time of year you might feel under the weather. There are so many variables, Fauci added, that he can't say if the vaccine will be 10, 20 or 30 percent effective in the US, but the experience here usually parallels what happens in the southern hemisphere.
In Oklahoma, for instance, H3N2 now is not the primary strain.
That far exceeds the 59,000 cases during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
Four states are reporting widespread outbreaks of the flu. The Health District recently reported the first influenza-related death of a child in the 0-4 age group.
The issue with vaccines is that makers have to guess which strains of the flu to combat.
With winter temperatures now upon us, colds, the flu, coughs, stomach bugs and more are impacting Central Iowans.
Or it could be phased out by another virus, Dougherty noted.
"The flu shot could mean life or death", she said. "In a bad year, it can be in the teens", said Cincinnati Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Steven Englender.
A spokeswoman for Sanofi Pasteur, a division of Sanofi that produces about 40 percent of the influenza vaccines distributed worldwide, cautioned the research only analyzed Australia.
"I absolutely believe the flu vaccine is the best method of protection along with good hygiene, especially over the holiday everyone is getting together indoors with family and friends", Itskowitz said. "It reduces the severity of the disease".
New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show flu cases this year have doubled the number this time, last year.
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