SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A troubling flu strain is hitting the United States and health experts are warning those who didn’t get the flu shot that it’s still not too late.
“We’re seeing a late peak in cases, we’re still seeing a lot of flu in the community, in the United States,” said UC Berkeley Professor of Epidemiology Arthur Reingold.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday there is a 90 percent chance this winter’s flu season has already peaked but warned that H3N2 — a nastier flu strain — is spreading late in the season.
Denise King, a Bay Area teacher, said she is still recovering from the flu three weeks later.
“And I was making sure I was doing as much as I could, like making sure I was taking my vitamins,” she said.
H3N2 causes more hospitalizations and deaths than H1N1, which was the main strain this season.
In California, 307 have died from the flu from September 30 to March 2. Two of those deaths are in Santa Clara county and were adults under age 65. Nationwide, the CDC estimates there have been 20,000 to 30,000 flu-related deaths so far this winter.
The flu is hitting Roseville, near Sacramento, especially hard. One hospital set up a tent outside to accommodate the surge in patients.
“This is not the next pandemic, you know, a totally new strain that’s going to take over the world,” he said. “No, this is not strange in that sense, it’s just coming into the population a little later than we normally see.”
He said it is not too late to get the flu shot.
King’s doctor told her she likely got a mild case of the virus because she got a flu shot this year. But the teacher said she knows the flu is definitely going around.
“Some of my students were out the whole week because they had high fevers,” she said. “So I’m glad I didn’t get that.”