influenza influenza

A patient with the H7N9 avian flu is treated in a hospital in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province, in February of this year. The 2017 outbreak was the deadliest in China since H7N9 first appeared in humans in 2013. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/Getty Images

A sometimes lethal strain of H7N9 bird flu that has infected about 1,500 people in China doesn't spread easily among humans — yet. But research published Thursday suggests just a few genetic mutations might be enough to make it quite contagious. Pasieka/Science Source hide caption

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Pasieka/Science Source

A Few Genetic Tweaks To Chinese Bird Flu Virus Could Fuel A Human Pandemic

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Emmie de Wit, who usually works in a Biosafety Level 4 Lab, spent time in less secure labs in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Above, she prepares to test Ebola patient blood samples. Courtesy of NIAID hide caption

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Courtesy of NIAID

Luz Barajas took her son Carlos Cholico to get his flu shot at Crawford Kids Clinic in Aurora, Colo., last year. Health officials say there is some evidence the flu shot is more protective than the nasal flu vaccine. Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images hide caption

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Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The start of flu season is still weeks or months away, but you can get a flu shot now at many pharmacies. "It's a way to get people into the store to buy other things," says Tom Charland, an analyst who tracks the walk-in clinic industry. Darron Cummings/AP hide caption

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Darron Cummings/AP

Fourth-grader Jasmine Johnson got a FluMist spray at her Annapolis, Md., elementary school in 2007. This year, the nasal spray vaccine isn't recommended. Susan Biddle/Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Susan Biddle/Washington Post/Getty Images
Vidhya Nagarajan for NPR

Sick? People Say They Still Go To Work, Even When They Shouldn't

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Doctors don't always suggest that pregnant women get flu shots, which may account for the relatively low vaccination rates. Jamie Grill/Tetra images RF/Getty Images hide caption

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Jamie Grill/Tetra images RF/Getty Images