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Government Shutdown Could Affect Flu Season

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CLEVELAND--The government shutdown is affecting many things including the Centers for Disease Control. The agency is only partially operating right at the start of flu season.

Health care workers who would normally monitor the flu across the nation, are not.

Doctors are now concerned that the government shutdown could cause next year's bug to be bad, since no one is currently tracking the virus.

"Tracking the flu is very important, because the bug itself, is very smart. It changes. It tweaks. It does all different types of things to mutate so it can stay alive," said Dr. Christine Alexander, at MetroHealth Medical Center. "The CDC tracks that year, over year, over year, and that's how we  develop the vaccines that are good. If we are shut down for a while, this could be a huge problem.”

The Centers for Disease Control sent out a tweet Wednesday apologizing for shutting down.

Doctors said with the CDC closed, no one will know where the flu is affecting people the most, and what types of viruses are spreading.

“The CDC will dispatch experts to those areas to try and figure out what's going on, and try and lessen the impact in those areas. If you have no workers to send, and no one tracking the data, you don't know where it's being managed well, and where it's being managed poorly. If you don't have the workers to help, then the infection can run rampage,” said Dr. Alexander.

Some Cleveland residents are concerned.

“I think it's bad they shut it down. I think it's very, very, important, because we have a lot of elderly and young children out here that can get sick," said Sylvilla Thomas of Cleveland.

The CDC is still urging everyone six months and older to get their yearly flu shot.

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