Flu Vaccine

A flu vaccine dose beside several needles.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr

The number of people getting the flu is on the way back down in the St. Louis region. It spiked slightly earlier this month.

The St. Louis County health department confirmed 207 cases of influenza this week, compared to 380 last week, and 295 the week before that. In St. Louis, the number of weekly flu cases peaked earlier this month just below 150.

A flu vaccine dose beside several needles.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr

A Washington University professor has a possible business solution to a perennial public health problem: flu vaccine shortages.

Olin Business School professor Fuqiang Zhang and his research partners are proposing a combination of existing contract incentives.

A flu vaccine gets placed inside a needle.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr

Shots aren’t for everyone, but the manufacturer of a nasal spray version of the vaccine experienced a technical issue early in the season that caused shipping delays.

At Forest Park Peds in St. Louis, office manager Gail McCarthy says the clinic has been receiving just a percentage of the FluMist vaccines they’d originally ordered.

Judy Schmidt, James Gathany, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In the past few weeks, the St. Louis region has seen a dramatic increase in the number of flu cases. The dangerous H1N1 strand that appeared in 2009 is back, and nine people have already died of the illness at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.  

Judy Schmidt, James Gathany, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It’s winter again in St. Louis ― and that means the start of flu season.

Dr. Faisal Khan with the St. Louis County Department of Health says he’s seen a sharp spike in the number of reported flu cases in the past couple of weeks.

He says that quick uptick is normal for this time of year, and it’s too soon to tell whether the current pattern will continue.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Flu season has arrived and public health officials are encouraging residents of the St. Louis area to receive a flu shot as soon as possible.

“The earlier you get it, the better protected you are,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Communicable Disease Control Services for the St. Louis County Health Department.

(via Google Flu Trends)

Updated 3:21 p.m. with additional city data.

As our Julie Bierach reported yesterday, the flu this year is early, strong - and a second wave is expected.

But where? To use a phrase which may resonate with some of you - "let's go to the map!"

via Wikimedia Commons

The flu season has started early across the US. Doctors have been treating a large number of cases at area hospitals since October. Pediatricians at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis are treating a high number of patients diagnosed with the flu.

St. Louis Public Radio's Julie Bierach spoke with Dr. Ken Haller, a pediatrician at Cardinal Glennon. He says to be prepared for a second peak of flu cases.

Follow Julie Bierach on Twitter: @jbierach

This year's flu season started about a month early, prompting federal health officials to warn it could be one of the worst in years. They're urging everyone to get their flu shots.

But like every flu season, there are lots of reports of people complaining that they got their shot but still got the flu. What's up with that?

Well, as Michael Jhung of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, there are lots of possible reasons.

(National Institutes of Health)

As many as a quarter of EMTs and other emergency medical personnel in the St. Louis area may not be getting annual flu vaccinations, according to a new study out of Saint Louis University.

Saint Louis University nurse researcher and study lead Terri Rebmann says many study participants had misconceptions about the flu vaccine.

(via Wikimedia Commons/FEMA Photo Library)

St. Louis County to test new warning system on Mon.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the county will test the new $7 million warning siren system at 11 a.m. Monday. The county's emergency operations center will monitor closely to make sure the 180 speakers work properly.

A flu vaccine gets placed inside a needle.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr

A new study out of Saint Louis University suggests that a child’s first doses of flu vaccine can be given as either two shots or two nasal sprays, but that giving one shot and one nasal spray may be most protective.

Lead researcher Dr. Dan Hoft says the nasal spray – which is a live vaccine – can cause wheezing. But it’s more effective than an inactivated vaccine, which is injected.

Hoft says this initial study suggests giving children one injection and one nasal spray may provide better protection against the flu, without the respiratory side effects.