Flu update: problems continue into the new year

flushotIf you still have yet to get a flu shot, health officials suggest making that that your new years resolution.

185. As of January 6th, Health officials said that was the number of influenza hospitalizations so far in Michigan.

Mari Pat Terpening is the Communicable Disease Supervisor with the Central Michigan Health Department.

She said this year’s virus; H3N2, typically brings a higher than average number of annual flu deaths.

“Usually we see a 2.7% higher number of deaths in a year in which H3N2 is the predominant strain of flu, which we are seeing this year.”

Terpening said one of the reasons this flu season has been so active is that the predominant strain of H3N2 going around is not the H3N2 strain in this season’s flu shot.

She said, “Due to that reason, vaccine effectiveness levels are a little bit lower in the population as they’ve vaccinated than we would have hoped to have seen.”

Terpening said the vaccine contains the Texas strain of the virus. However, while the vaccine was being produced last March, a new H3N2 strain was discovered in Switzerland. She said that’s the strain causing problems today.

Still, medical experts say the flu shot is the number one means of prevention against the flu.