Second flu strain making people sick - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Second flu strain making people sick

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Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 5:08 pm | Updated: 12:41 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Arizona's flu season is still around and may be causing fevers, runny noses and raw throats for months to come.

What's worse is that the strain the public was vaccinated against this year is not the only strain making people sick, according to the latest U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The vaccination that was provided to the public earlier was meant to prevent "influenza A," which has been the dominant flu strain this season.

However, recently tested flu viruses have been "influenza B," which, according to the CDC, is "increasing nationally and regionally." So what does this mean for you and your children?

While there's no vaccine available for influenza B, people shouldn't be overly worried about it here locally, said Dr. Felipe Gutierrez, a physician of infectious disease at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.

"While influenza B is not very well covered by the original vaccine that was developed, Arizona's infections have still been predominately A," he said, "but nationwide, there has been a spike in the B strain."

The CDC raised the state to a "widespread alert for the flu," in February, making it one of 24 states with the same status - the highest level of flu activity in the nation.

And that's not even all of it. This flu season is going to last longer than originally expected, according to the CDC.

Gutierrez agreed.

"The season is peaking later ... It may be active until sometime in May," he said.

However, it's not too late to get the flu shot for influenza A, Gutierrez added, and those who haven't done so already should get one immediately.

"It's still not too late to get vaccinated. Just because the media has reported about the B strain, you are still going to encounter mostly A," he said.

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