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New strain of flu is making people sick

February 5, 2020

I’m Kelli Warner. We are now halfway
through flu season and a new strain of influenza is picking up, increasing the
odds we’ll have what infectious disease experts are calling a “double-barreled
flu season.” So far, it looks like this year’s flu vaccine is a good match
against this latest strain. Providers at Eugene Pediatric Associates in Eugene
say this has been a tough flu season. So far, one of the strains that’s making a
lot of kids sick right now is called Type B Victoria. The match on this year’s
flu vaccine, even though it has Victoria B in it, is not perfect. It’s estimated
that this year’s vaccine may only cover about 58 percent of B Victoria cases, and
according to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s been nearly 30 years since
B strains have hit children this hard. What’s concerning doctors now is that
there’s another flu strain overlapping B Victoria known as A(H1N1). However, so far,
cases caused by influenza A(H1N1) are a great match by this year’s flu vaccine.
The most worrisome part of a double-barrelled flu season is that you
can get sick twice. Doctors say just because you caught a B strain flu
doesn’t mean that you’re immune from the A strains, so a flu shot is still your
best defense against influenza. The flu vaccine is not perfect, but it is your
best insurance against your kid being hospitalized or dying from influenza.
Even if your kid has already had influenza type B proven this year, still
get the vaccine if they haven’t been vaccinated yet, because influenza A will
hit. A double-barrelled flu season also means we’re more likely to see a
prolonged flu season, so individuals and families are encouraged to get
vaccinated as soon as possible. It takes about 10 to 14 days after receiving the
vaccine for your antibody levels to respond. Final estimates on how effective
this year’s flu vaccine was cannot be made until the flu season is over and
scientists can look back at all of the cases. I’m Kelli Warner.

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