Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health, Science and Environment

Last years influenza cases highest since the 70’s

14194682140_63181e5377_z.jpg
Flickr User Dr. Partha Sarathi Sahana
/
https://flic.kr/p/nCkssY

Influenza cases throughout the country saw a sizable jump last season after a significant decrease in flu vaccinations.

The 2017-2018 flu season saw a 6.2 percent decrease in the number of people receiving vaccines.

Healthcare officials said the drop is likely due to vaccines in Australia having little effect on the virus, which discouraged people here in the U.S. from getting their shot.

However, health officials said the immunization in Australia isn’t the same as ours, and that getting the vaccine could have saved lives, and trips to the hospital.

Dr. William Schaffner is a professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Last season was a fierce season, there were over 900,000 hospitalizations, and approximately 80,000 people died of influenza and its complications. That’s more than the number of people who go to the superbowl each year.”

Dr. Schaffner said while the vaccine isn’t perfect, it still prevents some people from getting the illness altogether, and for others it makes symptoms much less severe.

He said last year's flu season was the deadliest in decades.