This year’s flu season is the worst in three years according to the Centers for Disease Control, made worse because the flu vaccine was not particularly effective.
Cases of the flu are still being reported, even though this year’s season peaked in mid-February.
Creating an effective flu vaccine is a hit-or-miss proposition. During the 2003-2004 flu season, the vaccine did not contain the strain of flu responsible for most cases.
This year the vaccine was only reported to be 44 percent effective as two of the three strains that health officials predicted would be circulating did not.
One of them Type A H3N2 Brisbane strain was not in the vaccine. The Type B Florida strain is also not in the vaccine but has been causing the flu.
When officials get it right and accurately predict all three strains contained in the vaccine, it is usually between 70 to 90 percent effective.
So far the flu season has resulted in 66 children dying, among them 52 who had not been vaccinated and several under the age eligible for vaccination or six months. The average age for a child who dies from influenza is 5.5 years.
The average number of pediatric deaths due to the flu range from 46 to 74. However, 153 children died in 2003-2004. #