MONDAY, Sept. 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) – In a finding that should ease the minds of Americans ahead of another flu season, this year's vaccines have already cut the risk of hospitalization in half during the South American winter, health officials report.
Even better, the flu virus strains that have been detected in the United States have so far shown a similar pattern to those in South America, although that could still change.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report is based on nearly 3,000 patients who were hospitalized in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay between late March and early July. It was published Sept. 8 in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The focus of the analysis was on certain high-risk groups, including children, those with preexisting health conditions and older adults.
The CDC is planning flu vaccine messaging, including new ads that suggest the vaccine will take an infection from “Wild to Mild.” Flu shots are now available. The CDC recommends them for infants as young as 6 months and for children and adults.
This is especially important for very young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions. They should get their flu shots in September or October, the CDC advises.
COVID-19 is the dominant respiratory virus in the United States at this time. Meanwhile, cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are picking up in the South, CNN reported.
The World Health Organization has more on seasonal flu.
SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 8, 2023; CNN