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Flu vaccine could be less effective this year

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The country could be in for a rough flu season, according to a report that predicted this year's vaccine could be much less effective than in years past.

The article, published Dec. 5 by CBS News, stated the Australian flu vaccine, which uses the same formula as our own, was only 10 percent effective during Australia's previous flu season.

But Jill Barber, influenza coordinator with the North Dakota Department of Health, said this shouldn't be cause for concern just yet.

"That's not necessarily going to be our efficacy," she said, "I think it will be less effective than usual, but whether it will be right near 10, a little better or a little worse, I don't know," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 7,000 flu cases so far this season, twice as many as this time last year. The flu currently is widespread in Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Massachusetts, and likely will become widespread in North Dakota. The state's influenza count as of Nov. 25 was 196, a high number for this time of year.

"I do think it's a possibility that it'll be worse. A November increase is pretty unusual," Baber said.