According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 2017's flu vaccine is showing to only be 10% effective against this year's main flu strain. This is due to a virus mutation, which can happen often with viruses. #flu2017
The main flu strain affecting us all this year is called H3N2 also known as influenza A(H3N2). This strain of flu has sickened over 215,000 Australians where the flu virus has hit first this year. The southern hemisphere is also a predictor of how the flu will affect us and how well our vaccine in the United States will work since both vaccines are similar.
To put into perspective the effects of this year's flu epidemic, in 2009 when swine flu hit making headlines, it infected 51,000 people in Australia. Compare that to 215,000 infected people this year in Australia.
Dr. Michael Ison, a professor of infectious disease and organ transplantation at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine states, "Typically in years when the predominant strain is H3N2, there are more hospitalizations, more severe disease and people tend to get sicker".
Influenza, in people 50 years of age and older, can trigger an inflammatory response in the body in two to eight weeks after recovery. Older adults are three to five times more at risk of having a heart attack and have a two to three times increased risk of having a stroke, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
A few comparisons of the effects of the flu outbreak this year compared to last year are noted below.
- Four states (Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana & Oklahoma) reported widespread outbreak in mid-November 2017, where there were none at that time last year. (Source: CDC)
- The mayor of Boston has declared a state of health emergency due to flu cases being up 10 fold from last year.
- Colorado has had 566 hospitalizations since October 1 to December 16, 2017. Compared to less than 50 the previous year. (Source: Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment)
- New York has reported 892 confirmed cases of flu as of December 16, 2017, and had a 56% increase in cases over the previous week. In 2016, 602 cases of flu were reported at this time last year in New York state. (Source: New York Dept. of Public Health & Environment)
Wide Spread Flu has been reported in 12 states.
While this year's flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective against the predominant strain of H3N2 the CDC and other infectious disease control doctors recommend getting the flu shot as it can be 50 to 70 percent effective against other strains of flu.
Azz Kicker Friggin SpritZen spray was specifically formulated to combat this flu strain, Influenza A(H3N2), based on published research done by Universities and scientists. It contains a proprietary blend.