The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging people to leave no stone unturned when it comes to combating the deadly influenza virus, in a statement that says it might not be too late after all this flu season for a precautionary vaccine.
The influenza disease, often confused with common cold has already claimed 16
lives of children under 18 this year as reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu season usually peaks in January or February and has chances of extending into spring or even further at times.
According to the CDC report, there have been 2,257 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza so far this season with 43 states experiencing a high level of flu-related activity.
"Severe complications are most common in children under age 2, and all children ages 6 months and older should be immunized." said William Rodriguez, a pediatrician at the FDA.
People are typically vaccinated for the disease in the fall as it may take several weeks for the vaccination to spring to life. However, the FDA says better late than never by asking people to get vaccinated anyway for whatever is left of the season.
"This is particularly late in the flu season for very young children, because to optimize immune response, children between the ages of 6 and 35 months need two shots, four weeks apart, during their first season of vaccination," said Rodriguez. "However, even one shot provides some protection, so even now there is time to get some benefit."
The flu season seems to be fiercer this year compared to the previous one according to health officials with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino pushed to declare a state of public health emergency in the city as reported cases soared to 10 times of what was reported in all of last year's season, according to the Mayor's office.
The mortal disease seems to have even developed countries like America under its spell with anywhere between 43 and 153 children falling prey for the past 10 seasons and 20,000 children on average under the age of 5 being hospitalized a year.
The FDA further stated that the vaccine which gets its approval every year, remains available even though certain outlets have stopped offering it. However, as of November 2012, only 112 million Americans had taken flu shots, said the CDC report which sadly leaves the majority of the population at the mercy of the disease.
by RTT Staff Writer
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