Fewer people are getting flu, but new cases of the virus are on the rise. Neither number should be cause for concern, say experts
It’s been a slow start to flu season, but the number of people who have been treated for the flu has been rising, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Early signs of flu season in the US indicate the usual early-season lethality of flu,” said the CDC director, Tom Frieden, in a statement.
While there have been fewer flu cases, fewer people have been getting vaccinated.
Cases of people who have been treated for the flu in the US have increased more than 50% from November, when the season started, to February, says the CDC. For the week ending 16 March, flu was found in 41 states, though 42 states did have one to two confirmed cases.
The CDC estimates the number of patients who have been diagnosed with the flu at 160,000 people over the course of the entire season, not just those treated for the flu.
While it’s not clear why fewer people are getting vaccinated, Frieden said he believes the decline in vaccination is “good news”. “Vaccination for prevention of the flu works, and this year many Americans have been vaccinated and are protected,” he said.