This year’s flu season has been declared an "epidemic:" with 41 states reporting widespread and severe outbreaks of flu this season, researchers are wondering why less than half of the American population has gotten a flu shot. Due to the way the flu virus mutates, this year’s vaccine is only 62% effective, but that’s better than nothing!

Despite widespread knowledge that a vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances of catching and spreading the flu, even three of the four main anchors on a popular morning TV show recently admitted they had not gotten a flu shot (until they did so live on the air).
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Influenza, commonly known as the flu, has distinct transmission patterns around the world. In temperate regions, influenza’s occurrence peaks during the winter season, while in some tropical regions, the disease’s occurrence tends to correspond with the rainy season. This season, the Southern United States is being hit the hardest by the flu. Have you gotten YOUR flu shot yet?

Possible explanations for the seasonality of the flu have been investigated, such as the return of kids to school, people spending more time indoors in the winter, and lower light levels that affect the immune system, but there is no agreement on them.
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It’s time to begin paying attention to the new SARS-like virus found in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. While only six cases have been identified so far, two of the patients died. Lots of Saudis travel to the West on business–will it spread to this country?

In Forbes, David DiSalvo reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an international alert in late September saying a virus previously unknown in humans had infected a Qatari man who had recently been in Saudi Arabia, where another man with the same virus had died.

An update says they have discovered four more cases and one of the new patients has also died.
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Time to get that flu shot! When you get a vaccination during the day, consider taking a sleeping pill before you go to bed that night, because a new study shows that poor sleep can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. In fact, sleep duration is directly tied to vaccine immune response.
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