Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, February 16, 2008

Flu vaccine can’t keep up this year

Despite late start, virus hitting hard

February 16, 2008

Advertisement

Jennifer Colaner, of Lawrence, looks through the many varieties of cold medicine Friday at Hy-Vee, 31st Street and Kasold Drive. An especially harsh flu season has hit across the nation, including in Lawrence, causing many to miss work and school.

Jennifer Colaner, of Lawrence, looks through the many varieties of cold medicine Friday at Hy-Vee, 31st Street and Kasold Drive. An especially harsh flu season has hit across the nation, including in Lawrence, causing many to miss work and school.

Reader poll
Have you had the flu this winter?

or See the results without voting

The symptoms are all too familiar for people who have suffered from the flu.

The fever, the body aches and the headache that can make you say, "I feel like my head is going to explode."

At least, that's what 7-year-old Bryan Basore told his mom two weeks ago when he had influenza.

His mother, Becky Basore, a personal trainer in Lawrence, said Bryan stayed home for about a week from Quail Run School.

"I know that a lot of kids, a least 12 first-graders, were gone at the same time," she said. "It was really bad. Every week there's been a significant amount of kids sick, and they are sick for a while."

Outside of her son's elementary school, Basore said, "It seems like most everyone I know, their household has been touched by it in some sort of capacity."

Welcome to the 2008 flu season.

The annual round of illnesses actually had a slow start, but now Kansas and a majority of U.S. states are reporting widespread influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And the flu even is afflicting people who were vaccinated. This season's vaccine isn't adequately covering two of the main viruses infecting communities across the country, health officials said.

Usually, flu cases start to drop off by mid-February, but that's not happening this year. The number of cases is continuing to increase. In the past week, Kansas and 30 other states have reported widespread influenza, and 17 states have reported regional influenza cases.

Kansas University students have been hit especially hard.

Dr. Patricia Denning, chief of staff at Watkins Health Center, said she's seen many students who had been vaccinated but still became ill. However, Denning recommends people get vaccinated - because it's unclear how long the flu season will last. Watkins is low on vaccines, but the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has plenty, officials said.

At Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Tricia Thomann, an infection control practitioner, said the number of people with the flu who've gone to the hospital so far this year is more than the number who did in all of 2007.

It's too early to tell this flu season's level of severity, said Joe Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch for the CDC. However, the increasing trend of influenza activity this season isn't looking too different from others in the past two decades, he said.

Except for one thing.

This week, the CDC reported an 8.1 percent resistance level to oseltamivir - Tamiflu - which is one of two prescribed antivirals for influenza. That resistance is showing up in one of the predominating influenza strains of the season, the A H1N1 virus. Bresee said research is under way to investigate the resistance.

Influenza is caused by three main types or subtypes of the influenza virus: A virus H1N1, H3N2 and the Brisbane virus.

This year's vaccine isn't covering the H3N2 or the Brisbane virus, which began emerging last February, Bresee said.

LMH's Thomann said she's hopeful the flu season will begin to taper off soon.

"I'm hoping it does for everyone's sake," she said.

Until that happens, though, she recommended staying home if you're sick, staying hydrated and frequently washing your hands.

Comments

lounger 6 years, 10 months ago

Wash your hands and eat plenty of Garlic! It is a natural ati- septic!! Oh yes and dont use anti-bacterial-just regular soap. The anti-bacterial stuff kills ALL germs - good and bad, and the good germs help us alot!!!

Rae Smith Evans 6 years, 10 months ago

Proper and FREQUENT hand washing for at least 30 seconds and with water as hot as you can handle (remember, for children that is a lot cooler than what an adult can handle. Careful not to let them burn themselves, as burns in children can be especially severe.) is the best way to prevent the spread of illness. Teach your children to sing the ABC song or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star at a moderate pace to guage the correct amount of time, and have them scrub their hands vigorously. Don't neglect fingernails. Also, another big germ spreader is your telephone. Clean it.

gr 6 years, 10 months ago

"And the flu even is afflicting people who were vaccinated."

Eye of spider Tail of newt Ear of bat All in a soup

Drink this potion, (for a fee), and you the viri you won't get, says I.

If you don't get the virus - see, it works.
Come back next year for another potion.

If you do get it - well, the virus has mutated - can't get it all the time - do the best we can - at least it's a much milder case than it could have been. Come back next year for another potion.

If some do get it and some don't - At least we've stopped a widespread outbreak - we're making headway. Come back next year for another potion.

Don't you wish you were a witch doctor? Guaranteed income every year. Who's going to know if it works or not? Especially, if the village/government supports, promotes, and protects you. Why should anyone question the government? The government even gives money away to the people - their OWN money.

Eye of spider Tail of newt Ear of bat All in a soup

Commenting has been disabled for this item.