The nation’s flu season is off to a slow start, but is showing signs of increasing in many parts of the country, federal officials say.
“Nationally, influenza activity in the United States is low, but there are early indications that flu activity is picking up, especially in the Southeast of the country,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on flu activity. “Further increases in the coming weeks are expected.”
In half of the last 30 years, CDC officials said flu activity started increasing in January, peaked in February or March and continued into May. And officials note: It’s not too late to get a flu shot.
According to the CDC, the most recent agency findings include:
• Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness remained below the national baseline this week in all regions of the United States.
• No states reported widespread influenza activity. Regional influenza activity was reported by two states. Seven states reported local influenza activity. Thirty-seven states reported sporadic influenza activity. Four states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported no influenza activity at all. Puerto Rico did not report.
• Deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza increased slightly from the last report, but remained within the level expected for this time of year. No flu-related deaths in children were reported.
The agency also reported the flu strains circulating are not especially dangerous and are responding well to the antiviral medications Tamiflu and Relenza.
CDC advises anyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response.