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Disappointing Year for Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

luiscar/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This season's flu vaccine may be even less effective than initially thought.

HealthDay News reports that the vaccine is just 18 percent effective against the dominant H3N2 flu strain, down from 23 percent initially estimated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even worse, according to the CDC, the vaccine may be just 15 percent effective in children between the ages of 2 and 8.

Still, the vaccine "does prevent lots of hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. William Schaffner, former president of the National Foundation for Infectious Disease told ABC News. "We need to do the best we can with the vaccine we have at hand."

Schaffner did say that the flu appears to be abating in all sections of the United States.

As far as the disappointingly ineffective vaccine, Schaffner said that it was "the worst year for the effectiveness of flu vaccine in decades. It will be better next year," he predicted.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, he recommended frequent hand washing and avoiding people who are coughing and sneezing.

The CDC also said that there was no evidence to prove that the nasal spray flu vaccine was any more effective than the flu shot.

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Disappointing Year for Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

luiscar/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This season's flu vaccine may be even less effective than initially thought.

HealthDay News reports that the vaccine is just 18 percent effective against the dominant H3N2 flu strain, down from 23 percent initially estimated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even worse, according to the CDC, the vaccine may be just 15 percent effective in children between the ages of 2 and 8.

Still, the vaccine "does prevent lots of hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. William Schaffner, former president of the National Foundation for Infectious Disease told ABC News. "We need to do the best we can with the vaccine we have at hand."

Schaffner did say that the flu appears to be abating in all sections of the United States.

As far as the disappointingly ineffective vaccine, Schaffner said that it was "the worst year for the effectiveness of flu vaccine in decades. It will be better next year," he predicted.

Children tend to get more viral illnesses than adults, Dr. Besser said, because they're in physical contact with each other and don't have years of flu exposure built up.

The CDC also reports that the nasal-spray version of the vaccine, which was "recommended especially for young children," Dr. Besser said, "is shown to not be effective at all."

"It's not exactly clear if it had something to do with the mutated strain," he said. "What it led to this week is the CDC voted that next year they will not recommend the nasal spray."

It may be the end of February, but we're still not out of the woods for flu season.

"Flu season is winding down," Dr. Besser said, but "there is still flu activity around the country."

"We encourage people who are sick to stay home from school and work, and cover their coughs and sneezes," he added.

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Researchers Identify Possible Blood Test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

AlexRaths/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say a simple blood test could help diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome -- a chronic condition that affects one in four million Americans.

According to the study, published in the journal Science Advances, while one in four million have CFS, fewer than 20 percent are diagnosed. Currently, there is no test for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Researchers, however, identified markers in the blood that could help confirm a diagnosis more quickly. There is even speculation that those same markers could hold hints toward potential therapeutic targets in the future.

The study's leaders hope that they may have determined a potential biological cause for CFS.

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Health Officials: 3 New Cases of Measles Linked to Emeril’s at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

7Michael/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- The Southern Nevada Health District has identified three additional cases of measles connected to a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip.  

The cases, in adults under the age of 55, are considered to be the result of transmission from an under-immunized staff member at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino earlier in February.

The new cases are two staff members and a patron, according to health officials.

Two other cases connected to Emeril's were reported earlier in the month, according to ABC News affiliate KTNV-TV.  

An under-immunized worker was diagnosed on Feb. 10, and an infant was diagnosed with measles on Feb. 11. It is believed the infant spread the illness to the worker.

One of the newly diagnosed staffers was potentially contagious while working shifts this month

The new cases bring to nine the number of confirmed measles cases in Clark County in 2015, according to health officials.  These are the first confirmed cases in  of measles in southern Nevada since 2011.

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1.1 Billion Young People at Risk of Losing Their Hearing, WHO Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This just in from the World Health Organization: Your mother was right all along.

About 1.1 billion people are at risk for losing their hearing, and half of 12- to 35-year-olds in high income countries expose their ears to "unsafe" sound levels when they listen to audio devices, the WHO announced Friday. And about 40 percent of them are exposed to "potentially damaging" sound levels at music and entertainment venues.

"As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss," said Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. "They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk."

The organization suggested limited headphone use to one hour a day and not spend more than 8 hours in workplaces with 85 decibels of noise, like bars, nightclubs and sporting venues. Since those places normally have 100 decibels of noise, the WHO noted that they can cause hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes.

Dr. Daniel Jethanamest, an otolaryngologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said hearing damage happens with repeated or prolonged exposure to loud noises or a sudden, intense loud noise, damaging the tiny hairs inside the ears. Some hearing loss is temporary, but some is permanent. If you experience hearing loss or ringing, call your doctor, he said.

Here are some sound levels to keep in mind:

Headphones can be cranked up to a volume of about 110 decibels, according to the National Institutes of Health. Though Jethanamest said there may be downloadable cell phone apps to help you keep your volumes at safe levels.

Talking at a conversational level is 40 to 60 decibels, according to the NIH.

An electric pencil sharpener is 71 decibels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An ambulance siren is 120 decibels, according to the CDC.

Firecrackers are 140 to 165 decibels, according to the CDC.

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Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

1.1 Billion Young People at Risk of Losing Their Hearing, WHO Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This just in from the World Health Organization: Your mother was right all along.

About 1.1 billion people are at risk for losing their hearing, and half of 12- to 35-year-olds in high income countries expose their ears to "unsafe" sound levels when they listen to audio devices, the WHO announced Friday. And about 40 percent of them are exposed to "potentially damaging" sound levels at music and entertainment venues.

"As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss," said Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. "They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk."

The organization suggested limited headphone use to one hour a day and not spend more than 8 hours in workplaces with 85 decibels of noise, like bars, nightclubs and sporting venues. Since those places normally have 100 decibels of noise, the WHO noted that they can cause hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes.

Dr. Daniel Jethanamest, an otolaryngologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said hearing damage happens with repeated or prolonged exposure to loud noises or a sudden, intense loud noise, damaging the tiny hairs inside the ears. Some hearing loss is temporary, but some is permanent. If you experience hearing loss or ringing, call your doctor, he said.

Here are some sound levels to keep in mind:

Headphones can be cranked up to a volume of about 110 decibels, according to the National Institutes of Health. Though Jethanamest said there may be downloadable cell phone apps to help you keep your volumes at safe levels.

Talking at a conversational level is 40 to 60 decibels, according to the NIH.

An electric pencil sharpener is 71 decibels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An ambulance siren is 120 decibels, according to the CDC.

Firecrackers are 140 to 165 decibels, according to the CDC.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.