CDC Warns Vaccine May Not Cover Flu Strain in Mid-Missouri
COLUMBIA - Some cases of the flu not protected by the common influenza vaccine are present in mid-Missouri, but doctors say it is not uncommon.
A patient can receive two types of vaccinations for the flu. One is a quadrivalent, which is a vaccine including four different types of strains. There is also a trivalent vaccine, which only includes three strains.
There are other strains of the flu not covered by a vaccine, but the amount of cases have been fairly low this season in mid-Missouri.
The strains covered by a vaccine depend on which are predicted to be the most common strains that year after months of research, so the strains may differ from year to year.
Scott Schultz, MD, of Providence Urgent Care in Columbia, said the most common type of flu this season is the H1N1 2009 variety, which goes with Type A of the flu.
"CDC does special testing on certain flus, and we get a pretty good idea of what flus are going around," Schultz said.
The vaccine this year did have the H1N1 strain in it, but Schultz said overall the vaccine has had a high success rate this year in preventing people from getting sick.
In the clinics at Providence Urgent Care, doctors can test a patient for either Type A or Type B strains of the flu. If it is not either of those two types, the only way to tell the exact strain of the flu is by sending tests to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Schultz said it usually takes weeks to get these results back, and the patients are usually healthy by that point.
The CDC states the flu vaccine is 60% effective for those with normal health conditions.
If a person were to get the flu after receiving the vaccine, the length of the sickness is usually shorter.
Schultz said February is usually a busy month for the doctors at Providence Urgent Care treating flu patients, but people should look forward to the month of March when the virus will begin to fade.
Most doctors have been putting patients on Tamiflu. Schultz said the medicine is working quickly and efficiently on patients this flu season.
Some signs to look for if you think you may have the flu include: high fever, muscle aches, dry cough, headache and a loss of appetite.
For more information on the flu virus and for ways to prevent getting sick with the flu, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.