Early flu season could be upon us, CDC says
Federal officials say it's the earliest flu season in nearly a decade.
Eight Oklahoma residents were reported hospitalized last week with influenza, according to state Health Department data released Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a nationwide significant increase in flu activity over the past two weeks, indicating an early flu season.
“This is the earliest regular flu season we've had in nearly a decade, since the 2003-04 flu season,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, said during a news conference this week. “That was an early and severe flu year, and while flu is always unpredictable, the early nature of the cases as well as the specific strains we're seeing, suggest that this could be a bad flu year.”
States south and east of Oklahoma, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, have recently reported a high level of flu-like illnesses, according to the CDC.
Since Sept. 30, the start of Oklahoma's flu season, the state Health Department has reported 20 residents hospitalized with flu-related illness. No deaths have been reported.
Dr. Robert Welliver, an infectious disease specialist with OU Physicians, said Thursday at a news conference that vaccination is the best weapon against the flu.
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 79875Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 16375OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 12357Oklahoma tornado: Names of dead released; missing individuals located
- 12103Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 12064Clippers' Donald Sterling hints coach let go to keep Chris Paul
- 10249Oklahoma tornadoes: Red Cross text donations not designated for Oklahoma
- 9002How to help tornado victims