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U.S. health officials are keeping a close eye on a type of flu vaccine as signs of strain strain 26 emerged in Mexico, triggering a flu outbreak there.
“From Mexico, the news is mixed,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While outbreak in a couple of states “might be anticipated,” he said, the spread of sickness in Mexico is coming from an “outbreak of the local flu virus.”
There are a couple of good things about the situation. First, nearly 10 million U.S. people have been vaccinated against the influenza virus this season, meaning that “anticipating the appearance of a virus strain in any other country isn’t important for the population in the United States,” Frieden said.
And second, Health Canada confirmed they’ve done a lot of heavy-duty manufacturing of the flu vaccine and none of the vaccine strain 27 has been detected in Canada, so “there is now no reason to worry about being unprepared for the coming season,” he said.
At this point, no one knows whether this strain is going to become established as a new flu virus in the United States this season, Frieden said.
The good news? “There will be a vaccine for people to protect against it,” Frieden said.
And the CDC’s in good shape with the current vaccine, as flu season tends to peak in January or February, Frieden said.
And Frieden said he’s not concerned about this season turning out like last season, which saw widespread and deadly outbreaks, but he’s keeping his eye on it.
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