by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com
Flu season in Australia, located in the Southern Hemisphere, occurs while residents of the US in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying summer. What happens in Australia is a good bellwether for how bad the flu season in the U.S. will be come winter. And if this holds true for the 2017-2018 flu season, influenza vaccine experts are warning that the US could be in for a doozy.
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, health officials with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the World Health Organization (WHO) and in Australia described “record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths” during Australia’s 2017 influenza season.
What’s more, the influenza vaccine, which is still described by public health officials as the best tool to stay healthy during flu season despite years of dismal failures, turned out to be mostly worthless in Australia this year. The predominant circulating flu viruses were influenza A (H3N2), against which the 2017-2018 flu vaccine had a preliminary effectiveness of just 10 percent. Health officials have admitted that this season’s influenza vaccine is likely to be a major flop in the US and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
“Given that … the composition of the 2017–2018 Northern Hemisphere vaccine is identical to that used in Australia, it is possible that we will experience low vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) viruses and a relatively severe influenza season if they predominate,” they noted. As of early December 2017, more than 7,000 U.S. influenza cases have been lab confirmed, which is more than twice the number confirmed one year ago at this time, and 90 percent of states have reported some type of influenza activity.
© 2017 Dr. Joseph Mercola