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"I urge everyone to get their child or children immunized", Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said.

Even with reduced effectiveness, the vaccine is worth getting.

The predominant strain this season is H3N2, which has a more severe impact on the elderly and very young children. Seriously ill patients are advised to call a doctor before deciding whether to go to the emergency room. She added that influenza-like-illness across the country is now as bad as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic's peak.

This season's aggressive strain of the flu virus has already claimed several lives in Alabama.

Governor John Carney is also sending an email to all state and school district employees on how to further prevent the spread of flu in DE, including by getting a flu vaccine and staying home from work if sick. When well matched to circulating viruses, its effectiveness is about 60 percent. That strain, which always poses a vaccine challenge, is behind three-quarters of verified flu cases so far this season, CDC said. The doctor may prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the illness. "That's higher than we typically see for H3N2", Belongia tells The Washington Post. Marshfield is one of five USA sites measuring flu vaccine effectiveness. Childhood deaths have reached about 170 in a season.

Other than washing your hands, and cleaning surfaces, medical experts say it's still not too late to get that flu shot.

"We have already surpassed the total number of flu deaths we had previous year and we are still experiencing widespread activity". States are not required to report adult flu deaths.

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And, as Schuchat noted, the vaccine was 51 percent effective against this strain in young children.

Two of three flu related pediatric deaths also occurred last week.

Scully also reminded parents that free flu vaccines are available for children.

"My wife got nervous after learning about the death of a little girl from Golden Hill", Richard Kanan said. So why does this season's flu seem more ruthless than others?

Many details about how the immune system fends off the virus and protects the human body remain unknown. This year, vaccines are preventing 36% of those illnesses, the report said.

Recent research suggests that the traditional production process may make flu vaccines less effective, especially for H3N2. Salamanca Central School District recently closed for a day to disinfect after being faced with a higher-than-average rate of flu related absences in students.