The Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] has warned that cases of influenza are on the upswing in many states, pointing to an earlier and potentially harsher flu season than the nation experienced in 2018-2019. As of mid-November, 12 states were reporting either “widespread” or “high” levels of the flu, most of them located in the southern and western U.S.
Although Missouri is not yet experiencing flu at high levels, diagnosed cases are beginning to climb, according to statistics from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.
The majority of cases reported so far this year in the St. Louis area have been identified as influenza A, while on a national level, Victoria viruses have been the most common flu strains detected to date, followed by strains of H1N1 and H3N2. The Victoria strain has been more common in children and young adults, while those 65 and older have been most frequently diagnosed with H1N1, a recent CDC report stated.
The current flu vaccine covers all of the above strains. The CDC continues to emphasize that getting a flu shot is the best way for people to protect themselves against the illness and its potentially serious complications. Those at highest risk for flu complications include children under 2 years old, adults over age 65, and those with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease or autoimmune disorders, along with pregnant women and people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.