The Grapevine

Flu Season 2019 Update: 40,000 Prior Deaths Cause Experts To Issue Warning

The flu season in 2019 may affect many Americans and cause widespread health issues across the country if the vaccine scare continues to spread. Public health officials have already increased efforts to encourage the public to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of contracting the flu virus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded over 37 million cases of flu-related illnesses in 2018. The past year’s flu season also left more than 40,000 dead across the country, KSNV reported.

There have been concerns that this year’s flu season may have a larger impact than in 2018. A recent survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases shows that only 52 percent of adults in the U.S. plan to get a flu vaccine this year. 

Officials said flu is very unpredictable. It is a contagious disease carried by influenza viruses that change every year. 

Health experts said getting a vaccine each year is the best way to prevent flu. If left untreated, the viral infection could lead to pneumonia, sepsis, heart attacks and other potentially deadly illnesses.

The current flu season in Australia serves as a warning to doctors and public health officials. The country has been recording more severe flu-related illnesses and deaths.

“They’ve had it, they peaked their flu very, very early, and they still have flu so they have the longest flu season that they have ever seen,” Helen Chu, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said as quoted by Tri-City Herald.

The U.S. may be in the same situation in this year’s flu season. Australia also saw an earlier spread of flu compared to past seasons and American health officials said they will closely monitor the illness.

"Australia may have had a difficult season. That doesn't predict what's gonna happen in the northern hemisphere, so the flu is very unpredictable,” Vit Kraushaar, a medical investigator at Southern Nevada Health District, said. “Right now, we're not seeing much flu activity in Nevada. As the flu season progresses, we might have a bit more insight."

Health officials said a flu vaccine could help reduce the risk of contracting the flu by 40 percent to 60 percent. Herd immunity is also important.

The more people who develop immunity within a community because of vaccine, the lower risk for unvaccinated people to contract the flu. There are people who are not allowed to get a flu shot because of age and health conditions. 

Flut shot Researchers found that vaccination could reduce the risk of flu by 40 percent to 60 percent even during seasons when the virus is active. Pixabay