Our first subject this January 14th is flu season. The United States is in it right now. It's typically at its worse between December and February but this one started early. Health officials say it began in late September and that it's been a bad season already. The Centers of Disease Control, a government health agency, estimated that there had been at least 9.7 million cases of flu in America by early January, that 87,000 people have been hospitalized because of it and that 4,800 people had died fromRoyal88平台 the flu or the complications it can cause.
The particular strains of the virus that are spreading this year are more likely to hit children and young adults. And this year's vaccine is not an exact match according to a recent report, meaning it may not be as effective as flu vaccines in other years. The CDC says overall the vaccine's about 40 to 60 percent effective at preventing the flu, but it also says it's the best way to protect yourself from the virus. There are some silver linings to this flu season. Even though flu activity was considered high in 33 states at the beginning of the year, it had dropped a bit.
Doctors don't know yet if that means the worse of the flu is behind us. It could still go up again. But they're watching closely to see if it tapers off. Another hopeful sign is that across all age groups, the number of deaths and hospitalizations from the flu is relatively low this time around. That maybe because most of those who die from the flu are elderly and this year's stains are effecting younger people more than them.