flu vaccine

WMFE

A puzzling study of U.S. pregnancies found that women who had miscarriages between 2010 and 2012 were more likely to have had back-to-back annual flu shots that included protection against swine flu.

Sorry, kids. Your pediatrician will probably give you the flu vaccine in the form of a shot this year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday that it doesn't recommend using the flu vaccine that comes as a nasal spray. That's because the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at its performance last year and concluded it wasn't up to snuff.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The flu vaccine is doing a better job this year.

Preliminary data suggest it is 59 percent effective. That's a big improvement from last winter's nasty flu season when the vaccine was less than 20 percent effective.

Every year before influenza itself arrives to circulate, misinformation and misconceptions about the flu vaccine begin circulating. Some of these contain a grain of truth but end up distorted, like a whispered secret in the Telephone game.

But if you're looking for an excuse not to get the flu vaccine, last year's numbers of its effectiveness would seem a convincing argument on their own. By all measures, last season's flu vaccine flopped, clocking in at about 23 percent effectiveness in preventing lab-confirmed influenza infections.

Flu.gov

Some new evidence this is a particularly bad flu season: Flu-related hospitalizations of the elderly are the highest since the government started tracking that statistic nine years ago.

  CDC officials released the new flu season numbers on Friday.About 198 out of every 100,000 people 65 and older have been hospitalized with flu-related illness this flu season. That's roughly 86,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preven­tion.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Florida is a major player in widespread influenza reported in 43 states so far this season.

Levels of transmission have reached epidemic proportions, according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials say that a mutation in the flu virus may be to blame for the rising number of flu cases this year.

A slight change in the flu virus may be partially responsible for the increased flu activity this season, said Dr. David Berman, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at All Children's Hospital in St Petersburg.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials, who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.

Flu season has begun to ramp up, and officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain seen most commonly so far this year. That strain tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the elderly.

Last year, about half of Hillsborough County's Medicare recipients were vaccinated for the flu. But during most flu seasons, adults 65 years of age and older account for 90 percent of all flu-related deaths.

That's why the Hillsborough County Department of Aging is teaming with the National Council on Aging’s “Flu + You” campaign to encourage seniors to get flu shots at the Senior Fun Fest Friday) in Brandon.

Steve Newborn

 Two more flu-related deaths have been reported in Orange County, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The most recent deaths include a child and a 54-year-old woman who worked in the auditing department at Florida Hospital.

    

The woman, Mary Lamb, had the H1N1 strain of the flu and spent 18 days on a respirator before dying, her husband said. That strain also has been linked to the deaths of two women in their 30s in Brevard County.

A Brevard County woman has died and two other people in the county are in critical condition from the flu. The unidentified woman, who was in her mid-30s, died Sunday at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

This year's flu vaccine appears to be doing a unusually poor job of protecting the elderly, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Overall, this year's flu vaccine appears to be only about 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.