Forgive me if this is a stupid question but this year has been absolutely horrible for viruses. My family, and everyone I know has had at least 3 major viruses (the same 3 I think) and they seem to be horribly contagious. We didn't do the H1N1 vaccination but everyone seems to be equally vulnerable just now. Alternatively, could it be the massively increased use of anti-bacterial products? Or maybe it's just a coincidence. What do you think?
Is there any way mass H1N1 vaccination could have caused new, stronger flu viruses?
I have no opinion, because I know very little about the way the immune system functions, but it's an interesting question. I don't think I've ever seen a year as bad as this one for bugs of all kinds, and I know many other moms who say the same thing. I've been a parent for almost 18 years, and I've never seen anything like this. And, even dh and ds1, both of whom laugh their way through almost every bug that comes around, have been sick more than once since September. (I'm pretty sure ds1 has been sick more times in the last 6-7 months than in the preceeding 17 years.) It's kind of freaky.
Given the fair-to-middling uptake, I tend to doubt that whatever evolutionary pressure it might have applied would have much effect compared with the natural mutation rate in a mostly susceptible population. I suppose one could take a look at the round-trip data from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere and back again.
No, vaccination will not cause a new and stronger flu virus. That will happen all by its self, as it has been happening for as long as humans and animals have coesisted and flu virus evolved to begin with. Influenza mutates pretty rapidly, and everyonce in awhile it will mutate to a more virulent form that the majority of the population are non immune to, then you will get a pandemic. I think you are thinking of how over use of antibiotics can lead to super bugs, but that is not at all the same as how vaccination works. These are 2 entirely differnt things. Vaccines do not kill virus the way antibiotics kill bacteria. In a nut shell, vaccines prime your own immune system to recognize and kill off the particular virus or bacteria before you become ill. it is impossible for the use of antibiotics to cause a new and stronger flu virus, as antibiotics kill bacteria, NOT virus'.