Report: Flu season could be severe

Nov 30, 2017

Credit wxxi photo

An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the flu vaccine used in Australia this year, which is the same vaccine as the one in the U.S., was not very effective at preventing the predominate strain of the virus.

It was only ten percent effective, according to Dr. Nancy Bennett from the University of Rochester, who chairs the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"So the concern is that since we'll be using the same vaccine in the U.S., that we may see similar findings with a serious flu season this year," she said.

Dr. Bennett notes the effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year.

Dr. Nancy Bennett
Credit urmc.rochester.edu

"The flu vaccine is not perfect, it's getting better and better, there's a lot of research going on to make it a better vaccine, and to improve its effectiveness. In the meantime, it's the best thing we can do to protect ourselves from influenza," she said.

Dr. Bennett says people should take other precautions, such as staying away from people who are sick, washing your hands frequently, not coming to work sick, and taking influenza seriously.

She says now is a good time to get the flu shot.

"Generally the flu peaks sometime in December, January and February, and if people haven't gotten their vaccine yet, they should," she said.

Meanwhile, Ontario County Public Health is already warning the number of flu cases are on the rise, and holiday travel and family celebrations will likely cause flu cases to continue to rise.