Five more flu-related deaths reported this week in Oklahoma

Nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for this flu season because of concerns about its effectiveness.

It lowered the risk of having to go to the hospital or the emergency room by 48 percent, the team calculated. "But, the lack of high levels of protection conferred by vaccination underscores the need for new vaccines that provide substantially higher protection as the flu burden remains sizable, even with high levels of vaccination", Adalja said.

Vaccine effectiveness estimates for specific flu strains were 43% (95% CI 29%-54%) against influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and 73% (95% CI 54%-84%) against influenza B viruses, reported Brendan Flannery, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues. Experts say expectant mothers should be vaccinated during pregnancy to protect themselves and pass protection on to their unborn babies. "Since influenza-associated pediatric mortality became a nationally notifiable condition in 2004, the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths per season has ranged from 37 to 171", the CDC said. It killed 358 children that season.

The SHS also has a flu self-reporting form available through ECU's Pirate Port, which allows students with one click to notify professors that they have flu symptoms. "It seems like it's similar to the 2012-2013 season, which was a season with millions of cases and about 60,000 hospitalizations and 2,000 deaths".

According to CDC statistics, 82.3 percent of positive lab results say Ohioans are carrying the A (H3) strain. The CDC could not estimate vaccine effectiveness for the influenza A H1N1 component of the vaccine because those viruses haven't played much of a role so far this winter.

Usually the peak of flu season is in early February, but this year it is expected to peak a little later than normal.

DOH said it anticipates that status of flu activity will remain high for the next several weeks.

While 145 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the US, only a little more than one-third of children and adults under age 65 were immunized by early November.

The flu remains at epidemic levels in the USA, accounting for nearly one in 20 doctor visits, a portion that has been rising. They are caused by different viruses, but are both respiratory infections. That year data suggested the vaccine offered virtually no protection against H3N2 viruses.

Get vaccinated. Get the seasonal flu vaccines when available.