Three more flu-related deaths in Central Alberta

Simone Groper receives a flu shot at a Walgreens phramacy

Influenza B is more common in children than in adults. We like to think the days of chilling mortality rates, like those associated with the Spanish flu, are far behind us. In the 2016-17 flu season, 64 Albertans died of influenza.

Each year, around 50 percent of all children under 5 years old who die from the flu were previously healthy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That statistic includes 63 pediatric deaths reported this season alone.

The CDC said the flu vaccine is usually more effective against type B viruses and H1N1 than it is against H3N2.

The CDC's interim vaccine estimates are based on an analysis of 4,562 child and adult flu cases from November 2, 2017 through February 3. But that's false, according to the CDC. Manufacturers grow flu viruses in chicken eggs.

The FDA may pick a good match, but the influenza virus often mutates, sometimes so much that the vaccine elicits immune responses that do not recognize it and therefore struggle to fight it.

Oswego County also has seen an increase in confirmed laboratory cases during the past two weeks, said Supervising Public Health Nurse Jodie M. Martin. But one must weigh the costs of refusing the vaccine with the potential benefits.

Totally preventing flu is not the only goal of vaccination: It also can reduce the severity of flu symptoms for people who do get sick, Monto said.

Given how contagious the flu has proven to be, a vaccination that prevents even one person from contracting the flu would prevent multitudes of others contracting it from them. For instance, it notes that in young children, the H3N2 component of the vaccine worked better than in other populations; the vaccine effectiveness in children 6 months of age to 8 years old was 51 percent.

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Visit for places to get your vaccine, weekly flu activity updates, and frequently asked questions and concerns about the flu vaccine. Children who were vaccinated cut their risk of getting the flu in half even against the H3N2 strain-results that are "better than we were expecting", Schuchat said. Among these participants, 43% of those testing positive for influenza received the 2017-2018 seasonal influenza vaccine versus 53% of influenza-negative participants, the authors said.

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