PARKERSBURG - Medical officials are preparing for the peak of flu season. And some medical personnel are reporting patients who had been vaccinated from the flu are still contracting strains of the virus.
Dick Wittberg, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, expects the flu to peak on Christmas.
"We are looking at absenteeism from the schools and it is certainly on the rise," he said.
Tammy Crookshanks, a family nurse practitioner at Mid-Ohio Valley Medical Group, said they are seeing a rise of influenza cases.
"Probably 50 percent of the ones we are seeing have had the vaccine," she said.
Crookshanks said since Dec. 14 10 positive flu swabs for influenza type A and two positive for influenza type B. She thinks the cases are even higher given the swabs produce a certain amount of false negatives.
"And sometimes we identify (influenza) based on clinical presentation," she said.
Health care officials there are also seeing a number of people infected with type A influenza who had received the flu vaccine this year.
Crookshanks said the vaccine is always a good idea, but it doesn't always cover the virus mutations.
The flu vaccine is designed to work for various strains of influenza. Center for Disease Control officials try to predict what mutations the flu virus will take during the upcoming season and create a virus to counteract it.
"The strains of flu change every year. The virus constantly mutates." Crookshanks said. "Sometimes it mutates in ways other than what they thought."
Wittberg said health department officials were not aware of the infections in those who had been vaccinated.
"The CDC is saying they had it right this year and I haven't heard anything to the contrary," he said.
Crookshanks still recommends residents receive annual flu vaccinations.
"People still need to be getting vaccinated," she said. "It may be protecting against other strains of the virus.
"We know of no cases where anyone has been vaccinate and contracted the B strain."