The mild flu season in the United States is now over, but is that really true?

NEW YORK, NY (AP) -- Although the mild flu season of this winter has waned in many parts of the United States, health officials aren’t ready to give up on it.

The mild flu season in the United States is now over, but is that really true?

The mild flu season in the United States is now over, but is that really true?

NEW YORK, NY (AP) -- Although the mild flu season of this winter has waned in many parts of the United States, health officials aren’t ready to give up on it.

Positive flu test results have been down since the start of the year. However, second waves of influenza can still occur and experts believe that a spring or late winter surge may be possible.

Lynnette Brammer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that "Is this it? Or is there more?"

The number of COVID-19 cases has been declining, which has led to a decrease in mask wear and other behaviors that could have helped keep flu down this winter. Brammer stated that flu and other respiratory viruses can rise if people are less vigilant.

Some indicators of flu activity have increased in the past few weeks, including a rise in flu-related hospitalizations as well as the percentage of patients with respiratory illnesses who test positive for flu. There is limited data about the number of people testing positive for flu. It seems that around two-thirds of those tested positive for flu are children and young adults. Brammer stated that flu spread has been driven by children in the past. "It's quite possible that we could see continued increases."

Dr. Angela Branche of the University of Rochester was an infectious disease specialist and called flu season unusual.

She said that she doesn't have any flu cases at her practice this week. Normaly, Rochester doctors would diagnose 50-100 flu cases per day at this time of the year.

According to Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, the flu season seems "easing towards the finish line". However, viruses can be unpredictable.

He said, "If you've had one flu season you've had one flu season."

The flu season last winter was almost non-existent. Experts credit the prevention of COVID-19 spreading by social distancing, mask-wearing, and school closings.

Many doctors were anxious about the future, wondering if flu immunity would wane after last year's lull. According to preliminary data from the CDC, flu shots were less common this year for both children and adults.

An early November flu epidemic at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor led to more than 700 cases. These illnesses were caused by Type A H3N2, a flu variant that typically causes more deaths and hospitalizations, especially among the elderly. Worse, the children infected were often vaccinated. Investigators concluded that the shots provided little protection.

Later, this strain became the most common cause of flu-like symptoms in the country. But, this season proved to be manageable.

It was quite surprising, according to Dr. Edward Belongia of the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin.

The mild flu season in the United States is now over, but is that really true?

By MIKE STOBBE

Today

FILE - On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, a man in Brattleboro received a flu shot. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this winter's mild flu season is now a trickle in the United States. However, health officials aren't ready to declare it over. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP and File

FILE - On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, a man in Brattleboro received a flu shot. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this winter's mild flu season is now a trickle in the United States. However, health officials aren't ready to declare it over. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP and File

NEW YORK, NY (AP) -- Although the mild flu season of this winter has waned in many parts of the United States, health officials aren’t ready to give up on it.

Positive flu test results have been down since the start of the year. However, second waves of influenza can still occur and experts believe that a spring or late winter surge may be possible.

Lynnette Brammer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that "the question we're now asking ourselves is: 'Is it this? Or is there more to go?"

The number of COVID-19 cases has been declining, which has led to a decrease in mask wear and other behaviors that could have helped keep flu down this winter. Brammer stated that flu and other respiratory viruses can rise if people are less vigilant.

In fact, the flu activity indicators have increased in the past few weeks. These include the number of flu-related hospitalizations as well as the percentage of samples from patients with respiratory diseases that are positive for flu.

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According to limited data, about two-thirds of flu cases are children and young adults. Brammer stated that flu spread has been driven by children in the past, and it is possible that we will see more of them.

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Dr. Angela Branche of the University of Rochester was an infectious disease specialist and called flu season unusual.

She said that she doesn't have any flu cases at her practice this week. Normaly, Rochester doctors would diagnose 50-100 flu cases per day at this time of the year.

According to Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, the flu season seems "to be ending quickly". However, viruses can be unpredictable.

He said, "If you've had one flu season you've had one flu season."

The flu season last winter was almost non-existent. Experts credit the prevention of COVID-19 spreading by social distancing, mask-wearing, and school closings.

Many doctors were anxious about the future, worried that last year's lull might cause flu immunity to decrease. According to preliminary data from the CDC, flu shots were less common this year for both children and adults.

An early November flu epidemic at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor led to more than 700 cases. These illnesses were caused by Type A H3N2 flu, which is known to cause more deaths and hospitalizations in the elderly. Worse, the children infected were often vaccinated. Investigators concluded that the shots provided little protection.

Later, this strain became the most common cause of flu-like symptoms in the country. But, this season proved to be manageable.

It was quite surprising, according to Dr. Edward Belongia of the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin.

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"We have seen mild flu seasons occasionally, but not when H3N2 was the predominant strain. He said that this is what makes it so strange.

The peak season was December. COVID-19 cases rose due to the transmissible omicron variant of the flu, Branche observed. She noted that flu cases decreased as more people covered up and took other measures to stop coronavirus spreading.

The flu season at its peak was not as severe as the previous H3N2 flu seasons. Experts don't know why.

Many wonder if the coronavirus is able to essentially trump flu and other bugs. Scientists don't know the exact mechanism.

A highly effective vaccine could help reduce the severity of flu season. Researchers say that the flu strain currently in circulation is not compatible with this year's vaccine.

Although the CDC has not released any estimates on the effectiveness of the vaccine, it is expected that they will do so by next week.

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