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September 25, 2012 06:11 PM

2012 Flu Virus Strains

sioux falls, sd

The flu can be deadly, but depending on the strains of the virus, some years are worse than others.  You likely remember in 2009 where as many as 579,000 people worldwide died from H1N1.  Health officials are keeping an eye on the strains popping up this year too.
Mary Burnette is vocal about getting a flu shot. She suffered from influenza a couple times when she was younger.

"You don't want it. No we don't want it hon'. Nobody wants the flu," Burnette said.

That message rang out clearly in 2009 when thousands of people in KELOLAND lined up to get a shot for the H1N1 flu virus.

"We're in a much better situation against that virus than we were originally, but it's one of the predominant viruses that is still circulating," Sanford Infectious Disease Doctor Wendell Hoffman said.

That's why H1N1 is one of three strains of the flu virus covered in this year's vaccine.  But there is a strain of the virus that people have gotten sick from this year that's not covered. That's the H3N2 variant that around 300 people have caught from pigs, including at state fairs.

Few people have caught the virus from another person. So, Doctor Hoffman says you should not be alarmed about it but simply be aware.

"They are watching H3N2v closely and have actually even gone into making early vaccine forms of it in case it would breakout and become more easily transmitted between humans," Hoffman said.

Burnette's not too worried about H3N2v.  But she is concerned about other strains of the flu virus. That's why she plans to roll up her sleeve and get a flu shot.

"Because I do not want to get the flu; it's not good at my age or any age really," Burnette said.

You can get a flu shot at this year's KELO-TV-Lewis Drug flu shot clinic. It's this Thursday at any Sioux Falls Lewis Drug store from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. The cost is $28; it's free with a Medicare card.

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