Overall, the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine for last season was estimated to be 40%. But this year's shot offers 47 percent protection against all circulating strains, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The news is better still for vaccinated children.
The flu hasn't been as bad this year as it was last year and one reason may be because the vaccine was more effective.
That's based on data up to February 2 on almost 3,300 children and adults enrolled in the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network, said investigators led by Dr. Joshua Doyle of the CDC's Influenza Division.
As of February 2, flu is widespread in 47 states, and 24 states are experiencing high levels of the disease. In addition, hospitalizations are increasing, CDC research showed.
Health officials said that after a slow start, flu activity has been picking up in the past few weeks and is now the highest it's been all season.
Also, he said today's report underscores the need for better flu vaccines. But it may be waning, Brammer said, as the level of influenza A H3N2 has increased. At this point in the 2017-2018 season, that number topped 10%. "So there's still time for people to get vaccinated if they haven't already". During the 2017-18 season, vaccination averted an estimated 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 8,000 influenza-associated deaths.
The CDC says the predominant strain of the virus so far this season is H1N1 in most of the country, although a strain called H3N2 is predominant in the southeast.
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The report also determined that flu vaccinations have been effective in protecting many Americans from falling ill from the flu.
The CDC also recommends antiviral medication for people "with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness; who require hospitalization; or who are at high risk for influenza complications".
"Fingers crossed that we're now heading toward the bottom part of the season", said Richard Webby, a flu scientist and adviser to the World Health Organization on recommendations for the composition of flu vaccines.
"Overall, the message we're saying is flu activity is still widespread". Less passings have been ascribed to pneumonia and influenza this season contrasted and ongoing years, the CDC said. Early gauges demonstrate the current year's immunization is 47 percent successful, the CDC said Thursday. Last year, flu sent almost 1 million Americans to the hospital and killed about 80,000. "We'll have to see how it plays out".
The county has confirmed 4,423 flu cases to date this flu season, roughly a quarter of the 16,097 confirmed cases this time a year ago. As of the latest data, a total to 28 children have died from flu.
Nebraska is listed as one of several states severely impacted by flu-like illnesses.
- If you have the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities.
The team included a few caveats about interpreting the early findings.