Warning after a number of 'Aussie flu' deaths

     KILLER Microscope image of the deadly H3N2 strain

GETTY KILLER Microscope image of the deadly H3N2 strain

Between the beginning of flu season in October and December 16, there have been 2,711 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza, and 953 people hospitalized.

There were 22 new cases of patients diagnosed with severe flu complications last week, including 18 who had not been vaccinated, CDC physician Wu Pei-huan (吳佩圜) said at a weekly briefing on the flu situation in Taiwan.

The dominant circulating virus is of the Yamagata lineage, but the WHO-recommended composition of trivalent vaccines for use in the northern hemisphere's flu season was two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and an influenza B virus of the Victoria lineage, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

The flu season has not caused too many headaches at the area's major hospitals so far this winter.

H3N2 has been responsible for some of the worst flu seasons in the United States in recent years, including the 2006-2007, 2012-2013, and 2014-2015 bouts.

That's the message from health care providers, as this year's flu season gets off to "a fast start", according to Dr. Richard Lockwood, vice president and chief medical officer of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield's Central New York Region.

"These symptoms include coughs, runny nose, fever, sore throat, fatigue, aches and pains".

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Dr Lorraine Doherty of the PHA: "Everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated against flu should see it as a positive step in protecting their health and the health of others around them".

Battle: The MMA fighter and boxer said that he had been left shaken by the illness, which has affected many people in Ireland this festive season.

"Hospitals in North Wales have seen a rise in the number of people being admitted with flu and Wrexham Maelor Hospital has put visiting restrictions put in place to minimise the risk of it spreading to protect patients and staff". The annual vaccine is created to protect against three or four flu strains a season.

If you got a flu shot five years ago, "in general, it's not effective", said Lockwood. People should keep their hands washed and avoid touching their eyes or mouth.

State Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Brunswick, said he's concerned that ME still doesn't have enough public health nurses on hand if a flu epidemic were to break out this season.

In light of panic over reports of the vaccine's effectiveness, the CDC reported that it expects the American vaccine to be 32 percent effective against the H3N2 virus, but this week saw the flu become highly active in 21 states.

"I am concerned that any significant increase in cases could pose a serious threat to our already overburdened hospital system". Last year, flu activity did not reach this level until mid-January.

You can also get the flu shot at Rite-Aid or Kinney Drugs for about $38 if you have to pay out of pocket, but most insurances cover it.

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