September 17, 2009 By News Report
It's official, the flu season has started. There are cases in all 50 states, with 21 states categorized as widespread. "It's a very strange thing for us to see that this early in the year," said Dr. Daniel Jernigan -- medical epidemiologist and CDC's Influenza Division deputy director. Jernigan, in a webcast today, said the rate of infection is about twice that expected for this time of year, and that the virus is predominantly the novel H1N1 variety. The good news is that the virus is a match for the vaccine under development which will be available early next month. Younger people are more likely to be affected, and most cases are moderate to moderately severe. Dr. Jay Butler, chief of the 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Task Force said the FDA has licensed several manufacturers of the vaccine, and a single dose is effective against the virus. In the meantime, CDC recommends hand washing and suggests that if you're ill, stay home.