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Health: Mild Flu Season So Far

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Flu season is off to a slow start, but don’t let that flu bug fool you. Federal health experts say it’s probably still on its way.

By late January we usually are telling you about outbreaks of influenza, not this year. And we’re not complaining. But federal health officials say we’re not out of the danger zone yet.

Ciara Nagy is getting her flu shot, even though it’s been a mild season so far.

“I have two kids. I figured I was better safe than sorry,” said Ciara.

The Centers for Disease Control says while flu cases are down this year, people should still get vaccinated. Experts say it’s not unusual to have a slow start to the season, then a dramatic increase in late winter.

“We have heard reports from state health departments, that help us track that information, that they’re seeing more positive specimens. We expect to see some increase in activity shortly,” said Dr. Michael Jhun, with the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control.

Doctors aren’t exactly sure why the flu hasn’t been spreading, but warmer temperatures this winter may be playing a role.

“In the sense that a milder winter might lead to people doing more activities outside, staying indoors less, being around sick people less, it may have something to do with that,” said Dr. Jhun.

The low flu activity may also be a sign that people are getting vaccinated.

“It’s never too late to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, an Internist.

Ciara isn’t taking any chances.

“Hopefully I don’t get the flu,” said Ciara.

Influenza activity continues to be low in Pennsylvania and south Jersey. Nationally, according to the CDC eight adults have died from the flu and pneumonia this season, no children.


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