DALLAS (1080 KRLD) – A new report says Texas is one of the worst places in the country for the flu, so far this year.
The latest weekly influenza report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Texas is among 23 states where the flu is now considered “widespread.” Flu activity here nearly double this week compared to last.
What concerns experts are the statistics of the flu season that just ended in Australia, because the influenza dynamic in that country can sometimes be a preview of the season here in the U.S. This season Australia had its most severe flu season in five years. The vaccine used there is the same one used in the U.S. It’s believed that one of the strains covered – called H2N2 – mutated, making the vaccine only 10-percent effective.
A new flu index from drug store chain Walgreens shows seven of the ten worst places for the flu are here in Texas, with the Dallas area coming in at number 7.
Nearly 400 people in Dallas County have gone to the hospital with the flu since September, which is almost five times the number of cases as last year, according to reports.
Dr. Peter Hotez is with the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor. He says despite complaints that this year’s shot is less than effective…that doing what you can to prevent the flu is still the best solution.
Currently the influenza vaccine takes months to make but scientists are trying to develop new ways of making it so that when the virus mutates they can quickly make and distribute a new vaccine. Hotez says even if the shot doesn’t prevent you getting the flu, it could minimize the risk for other flu related complications like respiratory infections so everyone should still be immunized.