More people are coming down with the flu in the U.S., and Georgia and other Southeastern states are seeing higher numbers of reported cases. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the H1N1 virus is the dominant strain this season.
The H1N1 virus first emerged in 2009. And this is the first season since then that most people coming down with the flu have that strain.
It causes the same symptoms as other types of the flu: cough, fever, sore throat. But the virus affects some groups more than others.
And Dr. Michael Jhung, with the CDC in Atlanta, issued a call to action.
“For folks who are older children or young adults who may think they don’t have to worry about influenza, this year there may be something to think about it,” he said. “If those folks haven’t been vaccinated, they should get their vaccine.”
Geographically, Jhung said the agency is finding “more of an increase in some parts of the country, including the South central and Southeastern states.”
He added, “But we are seeing increases in influenza activity that are increases we see every time at this year. So they’re not unexpected.”
The season began in the fall, and is on target to peak in January or February. Last year, it began about a month early and was more severe than in past years.
Jhung says there appear to be no problems with the vaccine supply this flu season. But nonetheless, he says more than half of the people who should sign up for the flu shot don’t get vaccinated.