New flu strain hits Louisville Metro

New flu strain hits Louisville Metro

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you had the flu already this year and think you have paid your could still get it again.

Flu season is bad, and it's not over.

Another strain is floating around, which means you could get the flu twice. Doctors said we are seeing a strain shift.

When you get sick from one particular strain of flu virus, your body develops an immune response that will protect you from getting re-infected with the very same bug. Your likelihood of getting the same flu again is lower - but you can become infected with a different strain.

"What we are seeing right now is a trend towards a strain shift, from A to B," Norton Healthcare Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Paul Schulz said.

Flu A can include H3N2, and it's the strain responsible for more hospital visits and deaths this season.

It's been a rough flu season partially due to the fact that the flu shot is not all that effective against this year's dominant strain of influenza, type A.

The Flu B strain typically causes a less severe reaction than the type A flu virus, but occasionally, type B flu can still be extremely harmful.

"Hopefully the B strain we are shifting to is covered in the vaccine," Schulz said. "There is still a value in getting vaccinated even if you think or might know you had influenza earlier in the year."

Metro Public Health and Wellness said since August there have been 703 lab-confirmed cases of Flu A and 273 lab-confirmed cases of flu B.

"The thing about an infectious disease like this - as long as there is a susceptible host and an opportunity for transmission, you could continue to have flu season," Dr. Schulz said.

The only way to combat the flu is through immunization, hand washing, cough etiquette and staying away from people if you are sick.

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