NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – As the holiday season continues, the U.S. is also entering peak flu season.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates 650-thousand people worldwide could die from complications of the flu.
Health experts say this flu season could be a nasty one.
Texas is one of 23 states already seeing widespread flu activity, nearly double the number this week compared to last week.
“We’ve had more positive tests over the last couple weeks so it looks like we’re really starting to get into the season in earnest and that certainly seems to be the trend nationally as well,” said Dr. Mary Healy at Texas Children’s Hospital.
What concerns experts is the flu season that just concluded in Australia, which sometimes can be a preview of the season here. Australia had its most severe flu season in five years. The vaccine used there is the same one used in the U.S. It’s believed that one of the strains covered – called H2N2 – mutated, making the vaccine only 10 percent effective.
“H3N2 is one of the more common viruses that we’re seeing so far as well. However, if you look at the CDC data, we don’t have evidence that the virus has changed significantly so hopefully, we’re not going to face the same situation,” said Healy.
Influenza vaccine takes months to make and scientists are looking at new ways of making it so when the virus mutates they can quickly make a new one. In the meantime, the CDC recommends getting immunized, even if it only may provide a relatively small amount of protection.