This article contains updates to the article posted February 20, 2013.
According to the CDC, the influenza outbreak that was so widespread during much of the winter has peaked and activity has decreased in most parts of the U.S. During the latest reporting period (the week ending March 3-9), there were no states reporting high influenza-like activity. According to the latest Overview of Influenza Surveillance in the United States, Illinois has gone from reporting high flu incidence to reporting only localized outbreaks.
People at elevated risk for flu are pregnant women, those 65 and older and anyone with a chronic illness. The CDC urges these people to get the flu vaccine even at this late date. This year’s vaccine is particularly well designed to cope with the strain of flu that is most prevalent during this flu season. The effectiveness of this year’s vaccine has been estimated at 62 percent. Furthermore, a new study conducted by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in collaboration with CDC has found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-related hospitalization by 71.4% among adults of all ages and by 76.8% in study participants 50 years of age and older during the 2011-2012 flu season. The results of this study are especially re-assuring in light of certain reports of the limited effectiveness of this year’s vaccine among older persons.
Scientists agree that no vaccine is 100 percent effective but the agency assures us that if someone became ill with the flu having the vaccination often results in a milder case.
For more information about this year’s flu outbreak visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.