October 18, 2018 – Flu Deaths


Anchor lead: About 80,000 people died last year due to influenza infection, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Influenza and its complications killed over 80,000 people last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection control at Johns Hopkins Hospital, says that should motivate everyone to get a flu shot.

Maragakis: The flu vaccine is imperfect at best but, that being said we know it’s the best thing we have right now to prevent influenza and to reduce influenza complications and influenza deaths. The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year and unfortunately it was only about 40% effective last year in the midst of this very widespread, bad flu season. A lot of research and work is ongoing right now to try to develop better flu vaccines.  :31

Maragakis is hopeful that the so-called universal flu vaccine may be available soon, as well as improved flu vaccines using methods other than eggs to produce them, but reiterates that getting the vaccine is the best choice to avoid infection. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.