Marshfield Clinic Helps CDC with This Year's Flu Vaccine

Doctors say we are in the heat of flu season; if your going to get vaccinated, now is the perfect time.

Here in Wisconsin is the perfect place for vaccine research.

Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield is one of only five locations in the nation testing how this year's flu vaccine is doing for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Edward Belongia, of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation said Marshfield, Seattle, Texas, Michigan and Pittsburgh are the five locations the CDC is gathering data from.
Even though this year's flu numbers may not be as high as last year, the severity has increased for certain age groups.

"It's still not too late, but don't wait to get vaccinated," Dr. Belongia said.

You've been told time and time again to get vaccinated, well you're going to hear it again.

Dr. Belongia said they're seeing less people coming in with flu symptoms, but the people who most likely are prone to getting it are, working-aged adults and pregnant women.

Of those coming in with symptoms, more are suffering severe cases.

"People don't understand how sever the flu can be," Dr. Belongia said.

Of the people who come in with flu symptoms, vaccinated or not, doctors have been testing them, with their consent, for the CDC to compile results for the rest of the nation.

"We'll collect a swab from their nose and their throat and test them," Dr. Belongia said. "Then we compare how many people have the flu virus, and how many are vaccinated and who aren't vaccinated."

Dr. Belongia said Marshfield Clinic has been working with the CDC for about 10 years, but back in 2005 Marshfield was the only site in the nation sending data to the CDC for vaccine effectiveness.

"The virus we're seeing this year is the same that send the pandemic in 2009," Dr. Belongia said.

So far, they've enrolled more than 500 people in the study at Marshfield, and about 45 percent have tested positive for the flu.

"Some people have not had the flu for a number of years, and they don't remember how bad it can be," Dr. Belongia said. "It's much more severe than a bad cold."

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