Flu season has arrived in the US, and it is one of the most severe outbreaks in recent history. This year the dominant strain is the Influenza B strain named Victoria, and health experts are saying this could be one of the most severe flu seasons in decades. The Victoria/B strain is especially harmful towards children, and the shot is only 58% effective against this strain. These numbers are especially scary for parents whose kids are in environments like schools where germs spread rapidly. The flu has a pretty quick incubation period with an average time to symptoms of two days.
Flu season is here, and with it comes people who are unaware that their hand hygiene habits may not protect them from the influenza virus. This year the virus has been extraordinarily volatile, and deaths have increased by 65%. So far, there have been a reported 9.7 million people infected with a strain of uncommon Influenza B, a reported 87,000 have been hospitalized, and 4,800 have died. The strain is usually most common in children ages 0-4, and it hits them the hardest. Nevertheless, this year Influenza B is prevalent in most other age groups. According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate is 14.6 per 100,000 people. This strain of flu is unusual this time of year and a mismatch for the strains protected by the influenza vaccine. The CDC says that if a child is exposed to the current Victoria/B strain, there is only a 58% chance the vaccine will be effective. Hence, with a sub-par vaccine, it is crucial to maintain proper infection control techniques to minimize your risk of infection.
The 2019-2020 flu season in the United States has been off to a fast and hard-hitting start with 6.4 million cases of Influenza already and 2,900 deaths from influenza. This season has been particularly strange since the dominant strain is Influenza B this season. Influenza B usually does not create large outbreaks like this is doing so it is very different from what anyone could’ve anticipated.