Twenty-four states and Guam were reporting widespread influenza activity - meaning the virus has spread to many parts of the state, regardless of severity - as of December 29, the latest date included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) weekly flu report.
"Everyone older than six months of age, and able to be vaccinated, should get a flu shot", says Health Commissioner, Eric Zgodzinski.
The most recent statistics show there has been 512 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A in Manitoba, the most common flu virus in Canada, since Sept 1. A previous version misstated the age of children affected by the flu in a quote from Dr. Danuta Skowronski.
A total of 13 children have died so far this flu season.
Last flu season in Riverside County, the deaths of 23 people aged 64 or younger were linked with the flu, according to the release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80,000 people of all ages in the United States died of the flu and its complications during last year's season.
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Flu season lasts until May.
The peak of the season is likely to be the Lunar New Year holiday, but the epidemic situation is expected to be relatively milder, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said. The H1N1 strain is predominant. While it is best to get vaccinated against the flu in October, you can still get a flu shot.
"The flu vaccine helps stop the spread of the flu and protects everyone's health", said Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency spokeswoman Corinne Hyland.
"All of the fluologists have their own crystal ball, but flu is fickle so we're always very cautious about predicting, but I will say so far so good, not bad", he said. It is not too late to get vaccinated.
Pregnant women, children younger than five years old, adults 65 and older, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes should contact their doctors immediately if they experience flu symptoms. It is most effective if started within the first 48 hours of symptoms, so it's important to call as soon as flu is suspected.