Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News
  
 Search
  9911 Seminole Blvd. Seminole, FL 33772       Ph. 727-397-5563   View TBN's FREE e-Edition today!  
Click here to learn more
Health News
Flu season start early, CDC urges vaccination
Early vaccine coverage data shows millions unprotected
Article published on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012
  Print E-Mail
 
[Image]
Flu season is off to an early start. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone older than age 6 to get a vaccination now.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported Dec. 3 that significant increases in flu activity in the United States had occurred in the last two weeks, indicating an early flu season.

Interesting enough, the increases came just as the CDC marked National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8.

According to Dr. Melinda Wharton, acting director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, “Increasing flu activity should be a wake-up call. For anyone who has put off vaccination: It’s time to get your flu vaccine now.”

According to CDC’s weekly surveillance report published Nov. 30, 48 states and Puerto Rico have already reported cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza and, nationally, the percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza is rising fast.

Influenza-like-illness activity levels in parts of the country are already higher than all of last season. Nationally, the United States reached the baseline level for ILI the week ending Nov. 24, 2012 and five states are already reporting the highest level of activity possible.

Wharton explains, “Baseline is the point at which we know the ILI activity we are seeing is most likely caused by influenza and not other viruses.”

With the exception of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, this is the earliest that the nation has hit the ILI baseline since the 2003-2004 season, which was early and severe, especially for children. Last season, which was mild and late, the U.S. did not reach baseline for ILI until mid-March.

According to FluView, activity is most intense in the south-central and southeast of the country right now; however, it shows signs of increasing across the rest of the country as well. Most of the viruses characterized so far this season have been H3N2 viruses; which are typically associated with more severe seasons.

The good news is that most of the viruses characterized at CDC so far this season are well-matched to the vaccine viruses.

“How well the vaccine works depends in part on the match between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses,” Wharton explains. “If the influenza viruses spreading are very different from the vaccine viruses, the vaccine won’t work as well. While it’s early in the season, it’s encouraging to see a well-matched vaccine so far. That bodes well for how well this season’s vaccine will protect against illness, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Wharton addressed media during a briefing to kick-off NIVW, a national observance established in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. In the past, CDC has observed that influenza vaccination has declined rapidly after Thanksgiving. NIVW provides a post-Thanksgiving opportunity for public health professionals, health care professionals, health advocates, communities and families from across the country to work together to promote the benefits of ongoing flu vaccination.

During the Dec. 3 media briefing, Wharton also provided preliminary estimates of vaccination uptake through early-mid November. Vaccination rates among the general public are about even with last year at an estimated 37 percent.

“We’re glad to see that – despite the mild 2011-2012 season – people are still getting vaccinated,” Wharton said. “But that number still leaves a lot of vulnerable people out there unprotected.”

As long as flu season isn’t over, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Though each flu season varies, influenza can be severe, hospitalizing up to 200,000 people and killing between 3,000 and 49,000 during a season. While the protection afforded by vaccination varies based on vaccine match and the health and age of the person getting vaccinated, flu vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza.

Everyone aged 6 months and older should get a flu vaccination each year to protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of serious flu-related complications, like young children and people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

In past flu seasons, as many as 80 percent of adults hospitalized from flu complications had a long-term health condition; as did about 50 percent of hospitalized children.

More information about influenza and influenza vaccination is available at www.cdc.gov/flu.
Article published on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.
Printable Version E-mail article
NuSmile
Featured Print Advertisers
Custom Couture of Clearwater
(727) 735-8407
By appointment please.

Web site        View Ad
:)
Florida Center for Back & Neck Pain
Dr. Greg Hollstrom
11444 Seminole Blvd.
Largo
(727) 393-6100

Web site        View Ad
:)
Flooring America of Seminole
9012 Seminole Blvd.
Seminole
(727) 397-5509

Web site        View Ad
:)
Oakhurst & East Bay Medical
13020 Park Blvd., Seminole
(727) 393-3404
3800 East Bay Dr., Largo
(727) 539-0505

Web site        View Ad
:)
Abbey Carpet & Floor of Largo
13120 66th St. N.
Largo
(727) 524-1445

Web site        View Ad
:)
NuSmile Dental
13611 Park Blvd., Suite G
Seminole
(727) 475-7866

Web site        View Ad
:)
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Online Advertising
For information, e-mail
webmaster@tbnweekly.com
:)
Online Services Directory
MEDICAL DIRECTORY   ONLINE DINING GUIDE
MEDICAL DIRECTORY ONLINE DINING GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
TBN 27/7
Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News