Atlanta – Health care experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend everyone who is older than 6 months to get vaccinated against the flu. This includes pregnant women, as their babies are at increased risk of contracting severe influenza. Cases might increase for Christmas season and New Year’s.

Although levels remain low in the United States, the CDC insists that people must get vaccinated in order to protect themselves against the flu and adds that hand-washing should be a prevention routine.

The CDC recommends everyone who is 6 months old and above to get the flu vaccine. Credit: Biopharma Reporter

State’s health officer Karen Smith said in a statement, “By getting vaccinated, you can keep yourself healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.”

Smith expressed her worries over the recent deaths since she affirms that the disease is preventable. Last November 4 the California Department of Public Health confirmed the first death for the season in that state.

“Now is a good time to be vaccinated before the flu really spreads widely,” Smith commented.

Globally, some countries have reported an increased flu activity, while others inform that flu levels are still low. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some of them have reported increased activity from the 2009 H1N1 virus, which is a subtype that has been surpassed by H3N2 over the past few months. They also informed that in the Southern Hemisphere the influenza activity is dropping in South Africa and that in the Northern Hemisphere there are only sporadic flu detections.

On the other hand, the flu is rapidly spreading in Cuba, where there has been a high number of flu illnesses connected to the 2009 H1N1 virus. Flu activity has also been reported in India over the past few months.

In Australia an alarming spike in flu levels has forced authorities to add a stronger vaccine, which is expected to arrive for next year’s season. 90,000 cases of flu in the country were reported in winter 2015, which means that there was an increase of 25,000 cases compared to the previous year. The new vaccine will be constituted by four strains that combine two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains. The last is said to have caused 62% of the cases during the last winter. The quadrivalent vaccine is expected to convey the highest protection for those who are at most risk.

Source: CIDRAP