Flu season starting a little more normally

FILE - This Oct. 17, 2012 file photo shows a flu shot administered in Jackson, Miss. More children than ever got vaccinated against the flu last year, and health officials are urging families to do even better this time around. A severe flu strain swept the country last winter, sparking a scramble for last-minute vaccinations. There's no way to predict if this year will be as bad. But protection requires a yearly vaccine, either a shot or nasal spray. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it's time for people to start getting immunized.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

FILE - This Oct. 17, 2012 file photo shows a flu shot administered in Jackson, Miss. More children than ever got vaccinated against the flu last year, and health officials are urging families to do even better this time around. A severe flu strain swept the country last winter, sparking a scramble for last-minute vaccinations. There's no way to predict if this year will be as bad. But protection requires a yearly vaccine, either a shot or nasal spray. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it's time for people to start getting immunized. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

ATLANTA (AP) -- Health officials say the flu season seems to be getting off to more normal start this year.

Reports of the flu have been increasing, particularly in the South. But it's nothing like last year, when flu hit early and very hard in early December.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said last year's flu season landed about 381,000 people in the hospital -- the most since at least 2005. A contributing factor: The flu vaccine was only 51 percent effective overall

CDC officials said it's too early to know how bad this season will be or when it will peak. Flu is usually the worst in January or February.


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