Worst flu outbreak in years hits New Jersey

Posted: Updated:
NEW BRUNSWICK -

Many New Jersey residents are dealing with the worst flu outbreak to hit the Garden State in years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that this coast-to-coast outbreak is the first one this widespread since the agency started keeping track.

Health officials say that to make matters worse, the flu vaccine this year is only 30 to 40 percent effective against the strain of influenza that is causing the most sickness. That strain is H3N2, according to the CDC.

Saint Peter's University Hospital infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Wenger says that while H3N2 is more aggressive, contracting a flu virus is common.

“Every year you can get 25 to 60 million people infected,” he says. “This is not an uncommon infection. This year it appears to be a little more vigorous."

But health experts say that the flu can be especially bad and even deadly in children under 5 years of age and those with a compromised immune system.

The CDC had planned a panel Tuesday on steps to protect oneself during a nuclear attack, but instead held a meeting on flu prevention.

More information about flu protection can be found on the CDC website.

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