The flu season is typically worst around February, but can reach its height anytime from October to April. Though influenza had only only killed three Californians at this time last year, it had taken 68 lives by the end of February, according to state data.
Many California doctors, however, contend that the recent surge has been unusually severe.
“Rates of influenza are even exceeding last year, and last year was one of the worst flu seasons in the last decade,” said Dr. Randy Bergen, clinical lead of the flu vaccine program for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.
Most people in California and nationwide are catching a strain of influenza known as H3N2, which the flu vaccine typically doesn’t work as well against.
National health officials say the vaccine might only be about 32% effective this year, which could be contributing to the high number of people falling ill.
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