The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that the 2015-2016 flu season is coming to its end and has been a generally mild one overall. We previously reported that the current season saw fewer flu cases and flu-related deaths, and now the CDC reports it is slowly drawing to a close.
Unlike the 2014/2015 flu season, which started early and resulted in a high number of cases, this year’s flu was much milder.
There are three notable reasons for the milder flu season: no new flu viruses emerged this year, this year’s vaccine was a good match, and there was generally less flu virus out.
Last year, the flu affected 40 million Americans with one million being hospitalized. This year’s numbers are not yet available, but doctors note a big difference.
Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the CDC’s epidemiology and prevention branch, said, “This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent. It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season.”
Last year’s vaccine was only 23 percent effective, compared to 60 percent effectiveness of this year’s flu shot. Last year’s vaccine did not contain H3N2 strain and this year’s did, which boosted its effectiveness. This year’s most common strain was H1N1, but H3N2 cases still occurred.
Although the flu season is coming to its end, researchers still recommend vaccinations for those who did not get their flu shot yet in order to build immunity for the upcoming 2016/2017 season.