Between October 1, 2019 and December 28, 2019, at least 6.4 million people caught the flu, at least 55,000 people were hospitalized, and at least 2,900 people died of the flu in the U.S., according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 3, 2020.
Health officials are warning that the current flu season is on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season, which was the deadliest flu season in decades.
So far, for the 2019-2020 flu season has been dominated by the Type B Victoria strain of influenza, which is unusual because Type A flu is normally the most common strain early in the flu season.
The problem is that influenza B/Victoria strains are not comprehensively covered by this year’s vaccine, Dr. Louise Landry a Yale Medicine infectious disease expert, told Healthline.
“Only 58% of influenza B/Victoria strains and only 34% of influenza A/H3 tested matched the vaccine strains,” according to Dr. Landry.
Experts are recommending that people who have not yet been vaccinated should make it a priority to do so. Flu vaccination is always the best line to defense to prevent flu and its serious complications, according to the CDC.
The CDC recommends that if you do get sick with the flu, prescription anti-viral medications can make your illness milder and may prevent serious flu complications.