Flu season is here, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has started its weekly report on how many confirmed cases and deaths have been recorded.
Tuesday's report was the first, for the week ended Nov. 2, and showed 385 confirmed cases across the state, 13 of them in Lancaster County.
The actual number of people who had the flu is probably much higher; experts say only a small fraction of cases are confirmed, as many people who get the flu aren't tested.
No flu-related deaths have been reported so far.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot each year, with rare exceptions.
Countries below the equator see flu about six months before the U.S. does, and they’ve had a worse-than-usual season, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The last two have been doozies. In recent years, the 2017-18 season was by far the worst, and the 2018-19 season was the longest.
The seasons brought 4,570 and 2,355 confirmed cases in Lancaster County and 12 and seven deaths, respectively. For Pennsylvania, it was 122,030 and 98,453 confirmed cases, and 258 and 157 deaths.
U.S. flu activity is low and similar to activity at the same time during past seasons. However, both Louisiana and Puerto Rico are experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness. Get your #fluvaccine before flu starts spreading in your area: https://t.co/Z7VZlGWSP8 pic.twitter.com/vcZsEJeZdt— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) November 5, 2019
CDC estimates that during the 2018 – 2019 #fluseason, 73% of children 6 months through 4 years received their #fluvaccine, which is the highest coverage in 10 years!Getting vaccinated is the best protection from #flu. https://t.co/VkVeRyYQpF#FightFlu pic.twitter.com/vaDrmpi4YD— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) November 5, 2019
Flu vaccines are safe and have been given to millions of Americans for more than 50 years. CDC epidemiologist Michelle Hughes shares more key facts about flu vaccines in this short video: https://t.co/eZNDRcsu42— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) November 4, 2019