As if last year’s model weren’t sufficiently worrisome, this winter brings us a flu with some particularly nasty attributes, clearly explained by Cary Goldberg of WBUR’s CommonHealth.
1. The vaccine works, but: Doctors are seeing more cases of flu than usual in people who have been vaccinated. Goldberg reminds us that all flu vaccines are only somewhat effective. “In ideal conditions with young healthy people,” she writes, “it may be 80-90 percent effective, but when epidemiologists look at the real world, the numbers have been much lower, maybe 50-60 percent efficacy.”
2. More people this year have atypical symptoms. Goldberg says doctors are seeing people who test positive for flu, but have no high fever, as is usually the case. Instead, they may have scratchy throats and gastro-intestinal symptoms.
3. Whatever it is, it hangs on. Goldberg says doctors are seeing more people who stay sick longer, even several weeks longer, and that shouldn’t be happening with the flu. Her conclusion: it’s probably not the flu, but it is miserable.