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Seasonal Flu Rates Lower Than Usual

Seasonal flu rates are lower than usual this year and health officials say that’s because of the swine flu pandemic.

Dr. Janice Louie is an influenza expert with the California Department of Public Health. She says seasonal flu usually peaks after the holidays. But this year, “We have not seen any substantial seasonal flu activity.”

Louie says during a pandemic flu outbreak the seasonal flu strain can get bumped, so to speak. She says that’s what happened during the 1918 flu pandemic. But she says it’s difficult to predict what’s next.

“We’re waiting to see, the rest of the winter may be very quite or we may start seeing some seasonal influenza and the associated illnesses and deaths with that.”

Louie says seasonal flu is more deadly than the current H1N1 virus. She says more Californians than usual got the seasonal flu vaccines. And they got them early. Louie says that could be one reason for the low seasonal flu rates.