Texas is suffering through its worst flu outbreak in decades, according to a recent study of illnesses and deaths.
Flu season runs from about September through May. In most years, about 2-6% of people suffer illnesses that are serious enough that they visit a doctor. This year, according to researchers, the percentage has already risen above 13% — and flu season isn’t over yet.
According to a research team led by Roni Rosenfeld at Carnegie Mellon University:
“This is really record-breaking. In the last 20 years [the estimated number of people presenting flu symptoms] hasn’t reached that height. It’s the highest it’s been this early in the season, and it’s the highest it’s been period.”
Health officials in Dallas County reported a 6th death on January 2, 2018. It is possible that flu season peaked around the holidays and the number of illnesses will gradually decrease — but it is also possible that the 2017-2018 flu season could get even worse.
The flu vaccine for the 2017-2018 season is not a perfect match with the flu viruses that are circulating around the world, which is one reason why Australia was hit with an unusually severe flu season.
Even so, Dallas County health officials recommend that all residents over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated.