Flu epidemic worse than predicted, has now spread to 41 states

Flu epidemic worse than predicted, has now spread to 41 states

Americans are battling a severe bout of flu that has arrived earlier than expected, leaving many pharmacy shelves and clinics lacking flu vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control each year monitor flu strains around the world to determine which will circulate in the United States. This year’s vaccine targets three strains: two strains of Influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2), one of Influenza B, according to the CDC.

But local doctors are seeing a sizeable number of patients with influenza-like illnesses, or ILI, who have received flu shots.

“The flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it’s about 60 to 70 percent effective for healthy individuals and even less effective for elderly people or people with low immune systems,” said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

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