The bad flu season

Experts explain the reason behind the bad flu season in a recent article in ABC news

The 2017 peak of flu season has gone. But why are there still people infected by flu at this time?

Professor Collignon says that there has been more than 2.5 times the number of confirmed cases of influenza compared to last year.  Professor  Peter Collignon from the Australian National University’s medical team said that the number of hospital and GP visits for influenza suggests 50% increase in flu cases.

Last week, there had been more than 370 influenza deaths recorded in four states so far. Flu infections in aged care facilities caused many deaths.

Why has it been a bad flu season?

The flu vaccine has been less effective than expected.  Professor Collignon suggests it only offered only 15- 20% protection. One rationale for this is the influenza virus can mutate rapidly. It takes a large amount of time to plan and manufacture vaccines before the flu season. Thus the strains included in the vaccine may end up not being a good match with strains of flu virus circulating.

Are flu shots still worth it?

Professor Collignon said:

“Even though we’ve got a vaccine that’s not predictable in how well it works each year and on average might only have a 48 per cent efficacy, we’d still recommend it because that reduction is better than nothing,”

Flu is a serious illness and can at times kill healthy people.

Why is influenza fatal?

Influenza becomes deadly because it can have overwhelming effects on the body. This is especially when an individual already has underlying diseases. Those who died from flu,  70 per cent of people were killed by a secondary bacterial infection, Collignon said.

Having a flu makes an individual susceptible to bacterial infection.

If suspected of having influenza and after four to five days you become sicker. Ask a doctor a specific question “Could I have a bacterial secondary pneumonia?” Professor Collignon advises as ‘”that is the most common life- threatening complication”.
To read more about this in ABC, click this link.

 

 

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