An estimation of 80,000 people in the US died of flu and its complications last winter – the disease’s highest number reported in at least 40 years, according to the federal government estimated.
In an interview with Associated Press, Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert said: “That’s huge. The tally was near twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year.”
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Influenza struck hard particularly among infants and the elderly.
The CDC estimates the deaths have ranged in the last 8 years between 12,000 to 56,000, and between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations.
Last year the flu season started early in the fall and went through one of the most severe flu diseases peaked in January early-February up to the end of March.
The outbreak included a mixture of three strains: H3N2, H1N1, and influenza B, according to Buzz Feed. The vaccine was not as effective against the H3N2 strain, the predominant strain, due to a genetic mismatch between the vaccine version of the virus and its wild form.
The best way to prevent infection regardless is to get vaccinated regardless of how effective the vaccine is that year. So far, the flu that’s been detected is a milder strain, and early signs are that the vaccine is shaping up to be a good match, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, a CDC flu expert told AP.
It’s really important to get vaccinated if you’re old, if you’ve got children or if you’re pregnant.