Dr. Ed Dominguez explains this year's flu epidemic

Dr. Ed Dominguez explains this year's flu epidemic

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Thousands of people were affected by the flu this year, and some patients are still seeking treatment. Many are claiming mistakes were made by the Center for Disease Control, but some physicians think it was not so much the vaccine, but the virus itself, that caused this year's epidemic.

Each summer, the CDC with the help of the world health organization release their projections for the flu season in the United States.

"There's an influenza group in the World Health Organization that monitors all influenza activity around the world in real time," Methodist Dallas Medical Center Dr. Ed Dominguez said.

In previous years, the flu season starts in October and ends roughly by the end of April. However, this year physicians began to see cases of the H3N2 flu virus earlier than expected.

"As long as this epidemic has lasted, the vaccine wore off in some of those individuals, and despite getting the vaccine in September and October," Dr. Dominguez said. "By the time they were exposed to influenza in January and February, the vaccine may not have been as effective."

Affecting thousands of adults and resulting in over 100 pediatric deaths, this was the first time every state in the country experienced epidemic levels of flu activity at the same time, Dr. Dominguez says.

"It appears to be worse than the pandemic epidemic in 2009," Dr. Dominguez said. "So it's been a long time since we have seen something this bad."

Dr. Dominguez says as the virus traveled through the nation, the virus began to mutate with each person, allowing it to become resistant to the vaccine.T
This is why Dr. Dominguez believes the CDC still did a great job in trying to protect Americans from the flu.

"Even though they predicted the viruses correctly, and the vaccine components were accurate it appears one of the viruses the H3N2 virus mutated or changed dramatically enough that the vaccine over time became less effective during the influenza season," Dr. Dominguez said.

As the House commerce subcommittee looks for ways to prevent this from happening again, Dr. Dominguez has one request.

"Take this opportunity to learn as much as you can about influenza, public policy and our vaccine infrastructure."

Dr. Dominguez says our vaccines are great at this time, and there is always room for improvement, but that doesn't come without a price.

"We need money for research and resources to make those better vaccines," Dr. Dominguez said. "And until we invest in that and congress invests in that and companies invest in that, we are going to be looking at years like this every so often."

Dr. Dominguez says the numbers for the total amount of people affected in this flu season will not be released until mid-June.

It will be almost another two years before researchers can find out why this strain of flu mutated so fast.

Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.