Infection Control & First Aid Blog

From Bad to Worse; an Early 2018-2019 Flu Season Analysis

[fa icon="calendar"] 2/13/19 10:30 AM / by Safetec

How many times have we pushed off the first signs of illness only for it to emerge as the flu? What happens next varies from person to person. Some people are bedridden, others attempt to work through the illness, and in some severe cases, the flu claims their life. The flu isn’t a disease to take lightly, and the 2017 – 2018 season has been a bad one compared to years past.

Sick woman with runny nose lying in bed-1Experts are confused about the widespread virus that emerged this past flu season. They believe it is due to the unpredictability of which strains will appear each season. Experts at the CDC and WHO are responsible for predicting which strains to include in their yearly vaccine cultures. These vaccines are part of the reason that the flu wasn’t adequately controlled.

When flu vaccines are created, the viruses are cultured inside of chicken eggs. However, flu viruses don’t grow well inside of chicken eggs, so scientists often alter their genetic makeup slightly. The virus this year, the H3N2 Virus, is prone to mutations, so the genetically modified virus wasn’t effective at combatting the strain.

Experts from Rice University have built a model to predict the efficacy of the vaccine for next flu season. Michael Deem notes, “The vaccine has been revamped for 2018-2019, but unfortunately, it still contains two critical mutations that arise from the egg-based vaccine production process.” According to their model, the vaccine will possibly be less effective than last year.

To prepare for another harsh flu season, one must take a few precautions. Make sure to stock up on disinfectants to ensure your home and work are sanitary and practice proper handwashing procedures to ensure the flu doesn’t spread. Safetec offers a wide range of disinfectants and hand soaps to reduce the risk of the spread of disease.

References: 
https://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/influenza/news/in-the-journals/%7B7bd83c8f-b710-4fdc-af05-2646c2b7eeaf%7D/model-predicts-new-h3n2-flu-vaccine-component-will-be-just-as-ineffective
https://www.drugwatch.com/news/2018/03/06/fda-committee-chooses-flu-vaccine-strains-2018-19-flu-season/
http://time.com/5068553/this-years-flu-virus-could-be-worse-than-usual/ 

Topics: Influenza Season

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Written by Safetec