Possible Worse-Than-Normal Flu Season On The Way

   09.13.17

Possible Worse-Than-Normal Flu Season On The Way

While the American news media is busy bashing President Trump and reporting on Hurricane Irma and Harvey, a silent killer may be on the way: the H3N2 flu strain, which has caused the worst outbreak of influenza on record in Australia.

According to the Australian news News.com.au, more than 70,000 cases of flu have been reported in September — up from 30,000 in August.

Things are so bad, the National Health Service in England is bracing for “the worst flu season in history.”

From the Daily Mail – NHS bracing for the ‘worst flu season in history’.

Hospitals and GP surgeries are bracing themselves for a severe flu outbreak, the head of the NHS has warned.

Simon Stevens said the virus had already caused huge problems in Australia with some A&E units having ‘standing room only.’

The strain of flu which is thought to be heading our way – the h3n2 strain – has been particularly severe in the elderly and children.

What about the flu vaccine? The article at the Daily Mail goes on the say the vaccine commonly used may not be a good match.

But the vaccines are made in March – based on which flu strains scientists expect to be in circulation – and given to patients [in] September.

Some health experts in Australia have blamed the severe outbreak on the vaccine not matching. The vaccine used in the UK will be very similar.

That is England and Australia, what about the vaccine used in the United States?

Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) attempts to predict which strain of flu will be circulating. For the 2017-2018 flu season, WHO recommended the Northern and Southern hemisphere use the same vaccine.

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus; and
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

This means the United States will be using the same type of vaccine that was used in Australia, which is currently having the worst flu season in recorded history.

The flu page from the Center for Disease Control lists the same types of influenza as the World Health Organization:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus

The only difference between the WHO page and the CDC page is that the CDC page is missing two semicolons and an “and.”

In Short:

  • Australia is experiencing the worst flu outbreak in recent history.
  • More than 70,000 cases of the flu have been reported inĀ Australia alone.
  • England is bracing for worst outbreak of flu in history.
  • Vaccine blamed because it’s not a good match to current strain of H3N2.
  • United States is using same type of vaccine asĀ Australia.

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