Facts About Flu (Influenza): CDC-OC


Article title: Facts About Flu (Influenza): CDC-OC
Conditions: Flu
Source: CDC-OC

Flu Season 1998-99

October 9, 1998
Division of Media Relations
(404) 639­3286

  • Influenza viruses continually change over time, and each year the influenza vaccine is updated to include viruses that represent the most current changes. The flu vaccine that is being produced for the 1998-99 season has three influenza virus strains designated A/Beijing/262/95-like (H1N1), A/Sydney/05/97-like (H3N2), and B/Beijing/184/93-like.
  • Influenza, also called "the flu", is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue. Although nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea sometimes occur during a flu infection, such symptoms are rarely prominent. "Stomach flu" is a misnomer sometimes used to describe gastrointestinal illnesses that are actually caused by other microorganisms.
  • Most people who get the flu recover fully within 1-2 weeks. However, some people develop serious, life-threatening complications such as pneumonia. In an average season, flu is associated with 20,000 deaths nationwide.
  • Annual flu shots are recommended for people who are at high risk of having a serious complication when they get the flu. Groups at increased risk include:
    • Persons >65 years of age
    • Residents of nursing homes and chronic-care facilities
    • Adults and children who have chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, including children with asthma
    • Adults and children who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during the preceding year because of chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes), renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies, or immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications).
    • Children and teenagers (6 months - 18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and, therefore, might be at risk for developing Reye syndrome after the flu
    • Women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season.
  • Influenza vaccine production last flu season was approximately 80 million doses, and vaccine production for the 1998-99 flu season is expected to match or exceed that amount. Flu vaccines are 70%-90% effective in preventing flu among healthy adults. In elderly or chronically ill persons, the flu vaccine may be less effective in preventing illness than it is in preventing serious complications and death.
  • In the United States, flu season usually occurs from about October through April.
Information about flu surveillance is updated weekly from October through May, and is available from the CDC toll-free voice information system at (888) 232 3238; fax (888) 232-3299 (document no. 361100), or on the internet at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/weekly.htm.

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