Amid Alarming Flu Season, Health Officials Urge Vaccination

The Florida Department of Health said there are more flu outbreaks being reported this season – 107 cases so far, some deadly – than in previous years.

Throughout the United States, about 12 million people have been affected by the flu this season. At least 20 children have died nationally – two of them in Florida.

"I'd say in the last ten days we've seen a spike in the number of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms," Bo Rosenblat, a doctor at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, said. "Even our own staff are coming down with flu-like symptoms. So I would say this is a pretty high spike but not the worst that we've seen."

The most aggressive strain of the flu this season, identified as Influenza A virus subtype H3N2, is partly to blame.

"Our vaccine is probably least effective against H3N2. Slightly less vaccine immunity and slightly more aggressiveness ends up being a bad year," Nicole Bouvier, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said.

Despite this year's vaccine being only 10 percent effective, health officials recommend inoculation – especially for children, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women and people with pre-existing health conditions.

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