Flu season has started a little early this year, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that Louisiana is experiencing high levels of flu-like activity, according to their weekly surveillance report.
The Advertiser reports that health officials began hearing reports of flu cases in Louisiana as early as mid-September. That's according to Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health.
Louisiana is the only state to record high levels of flu-like activity, according to the same CDC report.
Nationwide, flu activity has increased slightly, but still remains fairly low.
"To put this in perspective the past two years were both bad flu seasons-and at this point in the year-the average in Louisiana was between 2 or 3 percent," Kanter said. "Right now, every other state is low or minimal (flu activity). That's pretty stark."
Kanter told The Advertiser that one of the reasons why the flu season began so early this year and why it is affecting Louisiana more than other states is that Louisiana has had "one of the lowest flu vaccination rates in the country."
A map on the CDC's website shows flu activity in each state and U.S. territory. Louisiana is orange, meaning that there is regional activity. The map indicates geographic spread and "does not measure the severity of influenza activity."
The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older should receive a flu vaccine. Those at high risk include adults 65 and over, pregnant women, those with heart disease and asthma, and young children.
For more information from the CDC on the flu, click here. To find a pharmacy near you that offers the flu vaccine, click here.