After one of deadliest flu seasons in recent memory, universal vaccine pushed

(WIS) - Flu season is winding down but it has left a mark on South Carolina.

This season was more deadly than past years. Around this time last year, the state saw 77 deaths.

In the latest reporting period, doctors have seen 134,940 confirmed flu cases and 271 people have died.

Fewer people go to the hospital for flu related symptoms, according to the report. But that number is still at a record high from past years, sitting at nearly 4,500.

The largest group affected is those who are 65 and older. With the total numbers sitting high for South Carolina this year, lawmakers want to create a fund that would help scientists create a new flu shot that lasts for years.

A bill called the Flu Vaccine Act was introduced in February by Congressman Ed Markey to fund research over the next 5 years to create a vaccine. The vaccine would provide lifetime protection against a range of influenza strains.

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro wants to invest $1 billion towards the universal flu vaccine.

This is personal for DeLauro. Her grandfather died in 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic and now 100 years later, people are still dying from Influenza.

The funding will ensure scientists are able to conduct the basic science they need to improve current vaccines and ultimately develop a universal version.

DeLauro estimates the flu annually costs the US more than $10 billion for hospitalizations and outpatient visits and $7 billion per year in lost productivity and sick days.

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