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Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Date:4/16/2009

pitalizations and 36,000 deaths a year, according CDC estimates. The old, the very young and people with chronic illnesses are at greatest risk.

So far this flu season, 45 children have died from the flu or related complications, compared with 68 during last year's flu season, according to the CDC.

Flu vaccines are often 70 percent to 90 percent effective. Last flu season, the vaccine was only about 20 percent effective against the H3N2 strain and less than 2 percent effective against the B strains, according to the CDC.

But this year's flu vaccine was a very good match for influenza A H1N1 and H3N2, Fry said.

That was fortunate, because there had been concerns about antiviral resistance, she said. The drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir), routinely prescribed to people with the flu, was resistant to this year's H1N1 strain, and the H3N2 flu strain was resistant to two other antivirals -- rimantadine (Flumadine) and amantadine (Symmetrel).

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the flu.



SOURCES: April 17, 2009, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Alicia M. Fry, M.D., M.P.H., CDC epidemiologist


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