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MA experiencing 'widespread' flu outbreak and peak season hasn't even hit yet

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Springfield-Greene County Health Department

The flu season is off to an early start in MA this year amid mounting concern that the flu vaccination might not be effective against the most dominant strain.

Between Oct. 1 and November 25, 5,070 clinical lab tests were positive for the flu, up from 2,510 in the same period previous year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a CBS News report , the flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective in Australia. Also, it helps people who contract the flu, get only a milder and less risky form of the illness.

So far there have been 1,545 cases of the flu reported in Missouri. "This suggests that MA may be having an earlier start". It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to build up and protect against the flu.

Right now, four states have widespread flu activity. "The only time my husband and I ever got them, we've never been so sick in our lives so we've been avoiding them like the plague", said Tiffany King, who doesn't get a flu shot.

The vaccine is then created months before flu season is in full swing to leave room for production and delivery.

"They feel that their flu shot wasn't as effective with their circulating virus", Hendrix said. "Historically the H3N2 virus tends to produce a more robust inflammatory response and can cause more illnesses".

Health officials are basing numbers off data from Australia, which typically sets a pattern for what the US will face.

"This is the time to get a flu shot", said Mills.

"We don't really know how well the shot will work on the circulating strain now in the Northern hemisphere".

The vaccine still protects against other flu strains. It helps your body fight off infection from the flu virus, keeping you and your family happy and healthy all season long.

"They will start to change just enough to kind of get around the fact that person has been vaccinated and still potentially be able to infect people in that community", Goforth explained.

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