Sees first flu death of the season

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Health officials said this is Eastern Washington's first flu-related death season. So far, there have been 105 hospitalizations associated with the flu statewide. And this year, Dr. Fauci and the co-authors of the perspective believe this flu season could be one of the rougher ones.

The most advanced universal flu vaccine candidate is only in the earliest stages of human clinical trials, and others are still being tested in animals. The country is often used as a model for how vaccines will perform in the States.

This is the second straight flu season that a federal government panel recommended against using the spray vaccine, known as FluMist, in the United States.

The flu vaccine used this year in Australia - which has the same composition as the vaccine used in the USA - was only 10 percent effective, according to a preliminary estimate, at preventing the strain of the virus that predominantly circulated during the country's flu season, an worldwide team of medical experts wrote in a perspective published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Also, experts suggest getting the flu shot. The vaccine is made from genetically-engineered proteins. Scientists manipulate these home-grown viruses to make them benign, or create a chemical lookalike, which-in the form of a vaccine-gives our immune systems a head start to prepare itself for future microbial invaders.

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FACT: Getting the flu vaccine, even later in the season, can still be beneficial. Because flu viruses are always changing-it's important to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

When the researchers introduced the mutation into a strain of influenza A virus that normally doesn't have it, the replication rate of the virus dropped.

An worldwide team of medical experts is warning that this year's flu season could be severe. Even worse, almost three-quarters of the 1,544 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu seen in the US since October 1 were of the H3N2 variety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MYTH 5: Flu vaccines are only for really sick people.

"Unfortunately, this is an example of how serious flu can be", said Dr.