“This is the earliest regular flu season we’ve had in nearly a decade,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a media teleconference.
Normally, health officials don’t see an “uptick” in flu cases until January or later. But this year, it started in late November, early December – something that hasn’t happened since the 2003-2004 flu season.
“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,” Frieden explained.
The announcement comes during National Influenza Vaccination Week, which was established in 2005 to remind people that it’s not too late to get vaccinated for the flu, according to the CDC website.
An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of six months.
“Influenza vaccination remains the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from serious illness,” Frieden said. “I’ve been vaccinated. My family has been vaccinated and I encourage everyone over the age of 6 months to get vaccinated.”
+ Ask Your Family Practice Physician about Flu Vaccinations
+ Learn More about National Influenza Vaccination Week