Department: It's not too late to get flu shot

"Widespread" activity means that cases have been reported in all areas of the state. For influenza B, the vaccine's effectiveness was 73 percent.

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness. According to USA health officials, the vaccine has been a great help in preventing the illness.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has identified 47 flu-related deaths so far this season, according to a Friday news release. Expectant mothers should be vaccinated during pregnancy to protect themselves and pass protection on to their unborn babies.

From a market perspective, Kalorama says that year-to-year flu statistics and effectiveness stats don't change the general status of the market.

However, there have been 32 deaths - 20 of them children - this season from flu-related illness. Each year, influenza is responsible for about 50,000 deaths in the US -most in older adults. Six were linked to H3N2, two were from unsubtyped influenza A viruses, and one was from influenza B. The CDC started tracking pediatric flu deaths in the 2004-05 season, and totals have ranged from a low of 37 to a high of 171. "The good news is that this year's vaccine seems to be a good match for the flu strains that are circulating".

Available flu vaccines and their costs are: Quadrivalant (4 flu virus strains) and Quadrivalant (4 flu virus strains), short needle intra-dermal, are both $40; and the high-dose trivalent (for people 65 and older), $55. "The flu shot is still the best way to make sure you and your loved ones are protected".

The proportion of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu in Europe dropped slightly last week, to 42% from 45%, and officials reported another decrease in the number of new hospitalizations for flu.

Flu season is in full swing but should calm down around the end of March, beginning of April.

IDHW is recommending that residents get a flu vaccine and take other everyday actions to stop the spread of influenza, like covering your cough, staying home when you are sick and washing your hands frequently, especially after being out in the public.

Flannery also urged people who come down with flu to get treated with antivirals when there's risk of severe disease.

"Suppose you got the flu and you have a household member with life-threatening lung disease", Lorber said. All but one of those deaths were people age 50 or older.

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