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Second Wave of the Flu Sickens Many in NY

Update Date: Apr 15, 2014 09:57 AM EDT
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Even though spring is already here and the weather is finally getting warmer, it does not mean that people are safe from the flu. According to health officials, a second wave of the flu has hit New York. The flu that is circulating the state is a different strain from the one that hit many adults during midwinter and so far, it has already hospitalized hundreds of people.

The NY Health Department announced that during the first week of April, there were 648 cases of influenza counted at hospitals. Overall, there were 2,500 confirmed cases of the flu throughout the entire state within that same week. According to the officials, the recent cases are caused by a type of influenza B virus. The strain that affected many young adults during the winter season was H1N1, which is a type of influenza A virus. Even though the strains are different, the vaccine is still the best form of protection.

During the winter season, H1N1 hospitalized over 8,000 people. Over 60 percent of the cases were in adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Medical experts stated that due to prior exposure to H1N1, which was behind the 2009 worldwide pandemic, and the effectiveness of this year's vaccine, H1N1 did not become a global threat. According to Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) influenza division, this year's flu vaccine cut people's risk of getting the flu by 62 percent.

"We have a preliminary estimate for vaccine effectiveness that's quite good -- 62 percent," Jhung said reported by HealthDay. "In the previous two years, vaccine effectiveness was between 47 and 49 percent."

Each year, the CDC reminds people about the importance of getting the flu vaccine and recommends that all people aged six months and older get the flu vaccine. This year's vaccine protected against H1N1 and H3N2, which is a type of influenza B virus. The CDC states that it is still not too late to get the vaccine.

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