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Long and Possibly "Crazy" Flu Season Expected

Posted Sep 14 2009 4:04pm

Experts say this year’s flue season could start with H1N1 outbreaks but then be followed by another, much rarer, strain that tends to make elderly patients much sicker. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is encouraging patients to get vaccinated “as soon as vaccines become available at their doctor’s offices and in their communities.”

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal today, several challenging varieties of flu could infect people in the coming months.”This season is going to be crazier than ever,” William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at Vanderbilt University told the paper.

The H1N1 flu is likely to be the most dominant variety, and it is relatively mild compared to others.  One strain of H1N1 is resistant to the drug Tamiflu, which makes it harder to treat.  Fortunately, that strain has been very rare so far.   Another variety of H3N2 flu is linked to higher rates of hospitalization and death among the elderly.  That strain is also relatively rare.

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