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Flu Virus More Potent, Can Be Deadly

Associated Press

It’s ah, ah, ahchoo … flu season again, and a more dangerous strain of the virus than those seen last year will be circulating this time.

The Type A-Wuhan virus, which can lead to deadly complications in the elderly, is the most dangerous of three viruses expected around the nation. The others are Type A-Texas and Type B, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

How bad the flu season will be is hard to predict, said Nancy Arden of the CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases. But she warned: “The more viruses like Wuhan, the more people die.”

The good news is that the current flu vaccine counteracts all three.

Flu contributes to the deaths of about 20,000 people a year in the United States.

A strain similar to Wuhan caused 38 percent of all cases of the flu in the United States last year. If the elderly or others who are chronically ill get the harsh Wuhan strain, they are more likely to get pneumonia or other life-threatening illnesses, Arden said.

The CDC recommends vaccinations for people 65 and older, people in nursing homes, children with asthma and anyone with a chronic illness.

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