The flu season is off to an early start this year, and Virginia is among the states already reporting flu illness, health officials said yesterday. It’s the earliest start in a decade, officials said.
Health officials on Monday said suspected flu cases have jumped in five Southern states, and the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than other types, according to the Associated Press. It is particularly hard on the elderly, AP reported.
“It looks like it’s shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the report.
In Virginia, the first case of the season has been confirmed through laboratory testing, according to Acting State Health Commissioner Maureen Dempsey.
In a letter to physicians, Dempsey continued to urge flu vaccination. Already, about 500,000 Virginians have been vaccinated against this season’s flu, she said, noting that figure likely underestimates the number of people have have received the protection.
According to the Virginia Department of Health’s most recent influenza surveillance report the most flu-like symptoms are being reported among children 4 years and younger in the state. Additionally, more flu activity has been recorded in the Northwest and Northern parts of Virginia, than in other parts of the state.