The warnings came early that this year's flu season could be bad, and reports starting to filter in from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that prediction may have been an accurate one. Per the CDC, public health experts from 36 states have submitted reports indicating "widespread influenza activity," with a large number of cases in 21 of those states, USA Today reports.
Epidemiologists are pointing to the reduced efficacy of this year's vaccine as one factor for the flu's early kickoff, with just a 10% to 33% effective rate. "Any time there's a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you're going to see more cases," says a University of Tennessee Medical Center infection expert. The CDC is recommending people not only get the flu vaccine, but also take neuraminidase inhibitor (NAI) antivirals if they do get the illness, Medscape reports. (Read more flu stories.)