How this flu season stacks up to past seasons: 5 key metrics

"Influenza vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of a person getting the flu and having to go to the doctor by about half".

There were 6,082 laboratory-confirmed influenza reports for the week ending February 11, a 14 percent increase over the week before, the the New York State Department of Health reported. For the predominant circulating influenza A type H3N2 flu strain, its effectiveness comes in at 43 percent.

The effectiveness of the vaccine is less than hoped because the H3N2 virus is able to mutate, Flannery explained.

Parrish said "a handful of students" who got the flu had gotten a shot previously.

Among infectious diseases, flu is considered one of the U.S.'s leading killers. Another strain, the H3N2 canine influenza virus-which was adapted from an avian influenza and had been circulating in dogs in China, Korea and Thailand-appeared in Chicago in March 2015.

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This season's flu vaccine seems to be working pretty well, weakening the punch of a nasty bug that's going around, US health officials said Thursday.

Clinics in Arkansas are experiencing a high level of flu and flu-like illnesses in the state, which is consistent with the high level of flu being seen throughout the country.

While 145 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the US, only a little more than one-third of children and adults under age 65 were immunized by early November. That makes this year the most severe flu season since 2000. Past influenza seasons have stretched as late as into May, and patients can benefit from vaccination as long as influenza viruses continue to circulate. "Vaccines are never 100 percent effective".

The flu shot: It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection.

"The influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza, " said Dr. Cara Christ, DHS director.

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Most people recover from influenza within a few days, but it can also lead to severe complications.

Flu seasons usually last for about 12 weeks, experts estimate.

"I've been waiting a long time for something like this, as a veterinarian and pet owner", says Crawford, who thinks the team's methodology is solid and its results promising.

If you do come down with the flu, it is important to call a health care provider who can give you a prescription for an antiviral drug.

Children under age 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions are most at risk.

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