NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The flu is epidemic this year has been severe and one reason is that the vaccine is not working very well.
The Centers for Disease Control says this flu season is showing little signs of slowing down.
In the past week, the number of hospitalizations has jumped and more children and adults have died from flu.
A Canadian study found it’s effective only about 17 percent of the time against the most dominant strain. Last year, the flu vaccine was 34 percent effective.
Hospital emergency rooms across the country have been overwhelmed by people coming in with the H3N2 virus. At the emergency room at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital staff have quarantined new flu patients in a separate mobile waiting room typically reserved for disasters like hurricanes.
“So we’ve had, I’d say, about a 25 percent increase on certain days,” said Grady’s Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Hany Atallah.
In Georgia, the flu epidemic has killed 37 people, 25 of them age 65 or older.
In neighboring North Carolina, flu worry led Duke University today to shut down “Krzyzewskiville,” the tent city where students camp out for the best basketball tickets. The state has reported ninety-five flu deaths.
In all, 49 states have reported widespread flu outbreaks and health officials say the flu season’s peak is two to three weeks away.
“It is a really terrible flu season,” said Katherine Lockler, a frustrated nurse in Pensacola.
She recorded a YouTube flu warning that now has more than three million views.
“There is a cesspool of flu, a cesspool of funky flu at the ER right now. So, please don’t bring your teen in, please don’t bring your healthy children, especially your newborn babies into the emergency room,” she says in the video.
Because kids can be germ magnets, Grady Hospital has banned anyone under the age of 14 from visiting patients in the hospital.