- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Officials prepare for ‘unpredictable’ flu season
Question of the Day
Health officials Thursday kicked off the unofficial start to the flu season by stressing the importance of vaccinations but avoiding specifics on the potential severity of this year's strain.
Joined by medical professionals from various states and government agencies, Dr. William Schaffner, past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, warned that "we know an awful lot about the flu. Most importantly, we know how unpredictable it can be."
"That goes to the adage: If you've seen one flu season, you've seen one flu season," he said.
The past few years have been a prime example of the variable nature of the influenza virus. While 2009 brought the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, 2011 was one of the mildest seasons on record, officials said. This past year proved to be a "moderately severe" season that started and peaked early, causing vaccine shortages, and crowded emergency rooms across the country. The flu was blamed for 164 pediatric deaths.
This year's vaccine cocktails includes an H1N1-like virus and an H3N2-like virus — the former is associated with swine flu, while the latter is a common strain but also the kind that wreaked havoc last season.
About 135 million doses of flu vaccine have been ordered for this year — about the same number as last year — and more than half have already been shipped, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
This year a new vaccine is available that fights four strains of virus as opposed to the traditional three strains.
"This potentially broadens the protection available," she said. "Influenza is unpredictable. Ever year is different The vaccine strains circulating are different and the population is different."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Higher Ground: 'Christian' Grey
- Priest abuse survivors group marks milestone
- Teen girl exorcised by priest, sends demonic text messages in response
- Obama nominates Rabbi David Saperstein as ambassador for religious freedom
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world