Experts from the World Health Organization and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are warning that the 2017-2018 flu season may be worse than past years due to an ineffective vaccine. Currently the influenza A strain H3N2 is sweeping through the southern hemisphere. Australia, which had 59,000 cases of the H1N1 swine flu virus confirmed by mid-October in 2009, had 215,000 cases of H3N2 by mid-October this year. Preliminary data suggests that the flu vaccine for H3N2 in 2017-2018 is only 10% effective. Earlier this year the WHO recommended that flu vaccines block against the same strains that were recommended in 2016-2017, which could be contributing to the low efficacy as other strains that aren’t blocked arise. It will be extra important this flu season to focus on washing hands, covering coughs, and disinfecting to prevent the spread of germs.
Did you receive the 2017-2018 flu vaccine this season and still got the flu? Have you noticed more patients asking for flu remedies this year?