Fourth flu fatality in Washington
December 4, 2003
Stevens hospital medical director John Todd said the man had been diagnosed with Type A flu just a day ago.
Overall, this flu season has been anything but normal. Microbiologists, like Kris Ainsworth in an Everett, Wash., lab are swamped, processing nasal cultures. The influenza test works much like a pregnancy test - a purple triangle confirms the flu, while a single dot is negative.
Labs have been so busy because the Everett clinic system reports
more than twice as many tests in November alone. As of last year,
among the tests processed, about 40 percent have tested positive for
“We have had a drift strain...not an exact match,” Dr. Yuan-po Tu said. “However, the vaccine does provide cross protection and cross reactivity.”
Also, Dr. Tu said, a "para-flu" is also circulating. It’s
not a full-blown influenza but a virus that can develop into a croup-like
If you're thinking about getting a flu shot, the King County Health
Department said it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.
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