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Infectious Disease: H3N2

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Flu and freezing weather may be driving up winter death rates
Conclusion There are always more deaths in winter than other seasons, particularly among elderly people. But why these fairly dramatic spikes in the death rate have occurred is still not understood. It should be noted these figures are provisional, as there can be a delay in the ONS receiving the data. Although the media has focused on the likely cause being flu, the numbers provided are for all respiratory conditions. Cold weather can exacerbate many of these conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For most fit and healthy people, flu is not a serious threat, but the elderly and those with...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 4, 2015 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Lifestyle/exercise Medical practice QA articles Source Type: news

Get the flu vaccine, reduce your risk of death
Last year was a lousy year for the flu vaccine. Hospitalizations for flu hit a nine-year high, and the vaccine prevented flu in only 23% of all recipients, compared with 50% to 60% of recipients in prior years. Why does the flu vaccine work well in some winters and not others? The flu vaccine primes the immune system to attack two proteins on the surface of the influenza A virus, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). Different flu strains have different combinations of these proteins — for example, the strains targeted by recent flu vaccines are H3N2 and H1N1. Unfortunately, the influenza virus is microbiology’s ans...
Source: New Harvard Health Information - September 15, 2015 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: John Ross, MD, FIDSA Tags: Cold and Flu Vaccines Flu Shot flu vaccine Source Type: news