Pediatric flu-deaths rise to 84

Simone Groper receives a flu shot at a Walgreens phramacy

HMS reported 80 confirmed flu cases this season and Silver Health Care did not respond to a request for information.

There's only been one other time in the last decade when the flu vaccine did a worse job. Data on hospitalization rates and deaths usually lag behind. Roughly 4,000 people died of flu and associated illnesses in the last week - largely pneumonia striking people older than 50 - a 20% decline from the week before.

Up to 646,000 people die globally from seasonal influenza each year, U.S. health officials said in December, a rise from earlier assessments of the disease's death toll. So far, as of last Friday, there have been 28 adult flu deaths in the state, and 100 pneumonia-related deaths.

It's not clear whether this flu season, which started early and has remained intense, has hit its peak. "You may still get sick, but it won't be almost as bad if you didn't get the flu shot".

"While this may mean that we've peaked, we won't know until know more until we see the data for the coming weeks", Nordlund said. Childhood deaths have reached about 170 in a season.

But Karen Martin, an epidemiologist at the Health Department, tells the Star Tribune it's still worthwhile for people to get vaccinated, and that officials are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated, in light of the new cases of child deaths from the flu.

Flu-related hospitalizations, especially in those age 65 and older, continue to steadily increase across the state. States are not required to report adult deaths.

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"This year's vaccine protects against H3N2, but that strain of the virus is known to change frequently throughout the season, making the vaccine less effective against the virus", Linquist explained in the news release.

"We need to see a 10 percent or more before we can say it is peaking or going down the other side", he said.

Experts say one reason healthy children are much more vulnerable has to do with how their immune system responds.

Azar agreed: "Go get a flu shot". That can lead to widespread inflammation that is ultimately fatal, Schaffner said.

One or two shots that confer lifetime or years-long immunity at near 100 percent effectiveness is the model we have for serious illnesses like measles, mumps, rubella and other viruses. If you or someone you love seems to be getting better, but then gets really sick again, that could be a sign of a secondary infection and medical attention is needed.

Even though this season's flu shot has lower efficacy, the New Mexico Department Of Health recommends that everyone receive the vaccination, particularly those who are in high-risk groups.

In a statement following the release of the report, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced an upcoming meeting with an expert panel for the selection of strains to be used in formulating next season's vaccines. The flu is expected to continue circulating for several more weeks, so getting a shot now can still offer protection.

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