This Is the Longest Flu Season On Record for the Last 10 Years
The CDC is reporting that the annual flu season has lasted well into 2019.
Last month, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that the 2018-2019 flu season would last longer than usual, and now that's proving to be accurate. We're well into April, and a significant number of people are still contracting the flu. You're not imagining it-this has been the longest flu seasons in the past 10 years, according to the CDC.
"Previously the longest was 20 weeks and right now we're at 21," Lynette Brammer of the CDC Influenza Division told CBS New York. In fact, it's been one of the longest since the CDC started recording in 1997, the news show reports. (Related: When Is the Best Time to Get a Flu Shot?)
This lengthy flu season might be unusual, but it's not unheard of: Flu seasons can occasionally last into May, according to the CDC. The good news is that this season already seems to have had its peak, which usually occurs between December and February. This season's flu activity "continues to decrease" but "remains elevated," according to the latest update from the CDC.
Two different viruses dominated this flu season, which likely contributed to the extended length; H1N1 was the main strain from October through mid-February, and H3N2 has taken over since then. This year's vaccine was more effective at protecting against H1N1 than H3N2 and H3N2 is more contagious (since it continually adapts)-two additional factors that certainly can't be helping matters. (Related: How Long Can Cold and Flu Germs Live On Surfaces Like Doorknobs and Subway Polls)
In its most recent weekly update on April 13, the CDC estimated that this flu season has caused around 502,000–610,000 hospitalizations and 34,400–57,300 deaths so far. While it seems to be on the decline, it's not over yet.