CDC officials say the flu has hit 49 states hard already this year, leaving only Hawaii and Washington, D.C., untouched by what they are calling the worst flu season in years. People who are at high-risk for flu complications, such as young children, pregnant woman and elderly people, may need a prescription antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu or Relenza, the news release said.
There were 128 positive flu tests during the same period in 2016, health officials said.
Sentara family medicine and internal medicine practices have the vaccines for $75 out of pocket, but individuals without insurance can get the shot for $37.50, according to Sentara spokeswoman Kelsea Smith.
We have seen an increase in the number of hospital visits around the state. While reports earlier this season cautioned that the vaccine may only be 10 percent effective - as happened in Australia - Jernigan said the estimates for this year are likely in the 30 percent range.
The state is also reporting a number of influenza outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 49 outbreaks reported this season.
"The numbers are still going up and we're not sure how high they are going to go".
Even though the flu vaccine is not a great match this year, doctors still highly recommend receiving the shot.
This year's flu season has been markedly worse than those of the last few years.
In one indicator of a worsening season, the CDC reported seven pediatric flu deaths. Doctors advise everyone to: cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, stay at home when you or your child is sick for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, and wash your hands as frequently as possible. "Remember also, it is not too late to get the flu vaccine".
Dan Jernigan, the director of the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the season is "very active", and there are early indicators it may be severe.
Despite that, health-care workers say it's still important for Canadians to get their flu shot - partly, they say, because some protection against H3N2 is better than none.
The most recent hospitalization rate for flu was 22.7 per 100,000 people, up from 13.7 per 100,000 last week.