Thought flu season was over? One strain is getting worse
Flu season is winding down, but it’s still not over in Jersey — and one strain of flu is actually on the rise.
According to state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan, most of the documented flu cases earlier in the year were influenza A, but we’ve been seeing a steady increase in type B influenza cases over the past month or so.
Since last fall there have been a total of 24,478 confirmed cases of influenza in the Garden State, about double the number of cases we had last year.
But since the fall, stretching into this year, we’ve had a total of 9,480 cases of influenza B, while there were only 1,909 confirmed cases of influenza B during last year’s flu season, Tan said.
“We’re definitely seeing flu wind down but what we’re seeing is it’s a shift away from A to type B infections,” Tan said.
But there's good news: The flu vaccine distributed this year is more effective for type B than A. She stressed this means if you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, now is the time to do so.
“Especially since we know that the type B vaccine effectiveness is better, it’s even more reason to get protected against flu," she said.
Tan said both forms of the flu can make you equally sick.
So when will flu season finally end?
“It’s hard for us to predict how long the flu season is going to last here in New Jersey. As far as the higher levels of flu activity, we’re just going to continue to monitor the situation," she said.
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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com