U.S. Flu Season Off to an Early Start; Widespread in 7 States

NEW YORK (AP) -

This year’s flu season is off to a quick start and so far it seems to be dominated by a nasty bug, according to the latest data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials say the flu vaccine seems well matched to the viruses making people sick, but it’s too early to tell how bad this season will be. The main flu bug this season tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations and vaccines tend not to work as well against this type.

Flu began picking up last month. By the end of last week, seven states reported widespread flu activity: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Most flu seasons – including last year’s – don’t really get going until late December.