Feb. 7, 2020 -- With the nation’s attention on coronavirus, the less flashy flu season has picked up steam again, causing large numbers of infections in 47 states, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.
What’s more, A strains of the virus have outpaced B strains as the biggest drivers of infections, giving the season a rare second peak.
“We may well have, for the second year in a row -- unprecedented -- a double-barreled influenza season,” says William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Here’s the rub: If you’ve already had one strain of the flu, you can still get another.
Schaffner says he’s aware of at least two cases of patients having the flu from a B strain, and then getting sick again with an A strain just weeks later.
“Last year, we had H1N1, then H3N2,” which are both A strains, he says.
“This year, we started with B-Victoria. Now it looks like we’re getting a surge in H1N1,” which is an A strain, he says.
The flu shot has protection against both A and B strains.
The latest numbers from the CDC show that flu activity in the U.S. remains high and widespread. Ten more deaths in children were also reported. So far, 78 kids have died from the flu this season.
More than 10,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu this season. The highest rate of hospitalizations is in adults over age 65.