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First flu-related death of the season hits Edmonton

05 December 2017

"We are encouraging people who have not been vaccinated to get their flu shot now", said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.

In Quebec a year ago the vaccine was only 37 percent effective against the strain of H3N2 that was infecting people. Even at reduced effectiveness, flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of flu-related hospitalizations each year.

And there's more bad news, it seems the dominant strain this year will be H3N2, which is a more severe form of the flu.

"Preventing the flu in as many people as possible is our first priority", says Dr. Crosby.

By getting a shot of inactive flu strains, the body builds an immunity towards the strain which helps fight off the sickness.

U.S. doctors are bracing for a potentially miserable winter because of ineffective flu shots.

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Dr. Gordon said the vaccine was about 60 to 70 percent effective a year ago.

It gives me no joy at all to announce this, but flu season is officially here - early.

The vaccine used in the Southern Hemisphere has the same composition of the one used in North America.

The possibility of a low-effectiveness flu vaccine this year "underscores the need to strive toward a 'universal' influenza vaccine that will protect against seasonal influenza drift variants, as well as potential pandemic strains, with better durability than current annual vaccines", the officials said in their paper. The two people who died were older than 65, according to a release from the health department.

But they say it's still extremely important for people to get vaccinated, as herd immunity - when enough members of a community get vaccinated to prevent a unsafe outbreak - can protect vulnerable members of the community, like children, seniors and people with serious illnesses that impact their immune system. "The best flu vaccine is the one that you get".

The CDC is reporting sporadic flu cases in IN and regional in Kentucky. Last year, the state had 15 flu-related deaths, most among the elderly.

First flu-related death of the season hits Edmonton