"The Australia data is interesting, but we don't know yet how well it applies to us", said Dr. Michael Parry, director of infectious diseases at Stamford Hospital. People aged 75 and older and those living in sub-Saharan Africa had the highest rates of flu-associated respiratory deaths, the study found. "Although the flu numbers from Australia are concerning and bear watching, the implications for the USA are not known at this point".
The Ohio Department of Health, in issuing its most recent numbers, reiterated its stance that getting a flu shot is the best defense against the virus.
While the flu can be especially risky for the elderly, he says everyone needs to get the vaccine.
Authorities said there are concerns with how severe this year's flu season might be in the United States based off of projections following Australia's flu season, which is typically a good litmus test for how America will fare, officials said. "It's actually similar to the virus that plagued us past year", explained Schaffner, and he says it can be deadly.
US officials are predicting an especially challenging 2017/2018 flu season, which is just getting underway in the northern hemisphere.
But the reason the 2017 shot isn't preventing as many cases of the H3N2 strain is that while scientists were growing the virus in chicken eggs, that strain mutated. Also, those who get the shot and contract influenza A (H3N2) will likely recover faster than those who don't get vaccinated.
Federal flu forecaster Dave Osthus at the Los Alamos National Laboratory told Business Insider that flu levels are looking a little higher than average for this time of year, but they're still within a normal range.
In Connecticut, influenza A viruses are dominating in the state, as they are nationwide.
Hartford County was close behind, with 43 cases, and New Haven County was a distant third with 26.
"It works more effectively in younger people than in older people, but none the less even if it's only partially effective it's important because even if you get the flu despite getting the vaccine your illness is much more likely to be milder, you are less likely to get the complications", the doctor added. So far, flu is widespread in four states - Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma.
Experts are predicting this may be a particularity bad flu season as the cases piled up before the traditional peak.
"We're planning on this being a fairly robust flu season", he said.