US flu season appears milder, one year after brutal one

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 file photo, Henry Beverly, 73, battles the flu while tended to by nurse Kathleen Burks at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Ga. As of January 2019, the current flu season is shaping up to be gentler than last winter’s unusually brutal one, health officials say. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

NEW YORK (AP) — It's early, but officials say the current flu season is shaping up to be gentler than last winter's unusually brutal one.

In most parts of the country right now, the flu strain causing the most illness is a somewhat milder virus. It tends not to cause as many hospitalizations and deaths as the kind of flu that dominated a year ago. Flu vaccines also work better against it.

Flu usually takes off after Christmas and peaks around February.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported the latest flu numbers. Last week, flu was reported to be widespread in 30 states, up from 24 the week before.

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