Widespread, early flu season grips United States

A fast, early and widespread flu season has gripped the United States, though deaths and hospitalizations are still below pandemic thresholds. This season's flu vaccines--6 in all licensed in the U.S.--match well with H3N2, the predominant strain making the rounds. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza unit reports that about 5.6% of all doctor visits nationwide are now for cases of influenza. Compare that with only 2.2% of visits at the peak of the flu season last year. And the CDC's weekly influenza summary update map looks foreboding--all but 7 of the continental states and District of Columbia are colored brown, indicating widespread influenza. Experts recommend getting the flu shot, and manufacturers have already produced 135 million doses. Report | Article (sub. req.)