Flu season in swing: Vaccine good protection

Through the first week of the New Year, incidence of flu was on a slight incline but still relatively low. Only two states, Alabama and Louisiana, reported a measured rise in influenza-like illnesses.

For many seasons, the spread of influenza begins to accelerate in the latter half of January to peak sometime in February/March.

From Oct. 1, 2011, through Jan. 7, 2012, most of the viruses anti­genically characterized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appeared to match up well against the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine — meaning this season’s triumvirate vaccine should serve as good protection — though the CDC noted it was still too early in the season to determine how well the seasonal influenza vaccine strains and circulating strains will match.

High levels of resistance to the adamantanes (amantadine and rimantadine) persist among 2009 influenza A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) viruses — the adamantanes are not effective against influenza B viruses. However, all viruses tested for the 2011-2012 season since Oct. 1, 2011, have been susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir), as were the majority of viruses tested last season, the CDC reported.

However, rare sporadic cases of Tamiflu-resistant flu viruses have been reported worldwide, the CDC cautioned.

To view the flu activity maps, click here.