Flu season still hasn't peaked in Texas

The flu season is almost halfway over, but the virus is not slowing down one bit.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said flu hospitalizations are the highest they've seen.

“We are at the highest rate in the last several years for people going to see their doctor for influenza like illness, so there's a lot of flu still out there and it has not gone down,” said Lara Anton with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said so far this year compares to the kind of flu outbreak we saw in the 2014-2015 season. That could be because that season's dominant flu strain is the same strain we are seeing this year, H3N2, which is known to cause more hospitalizations and complications.

“2014-2015 had a similar beginning of the season, where there was a really steep climb in the number of influenza like illnesses being seen by doctors, so that's the one that seems to be the most similar to this year,” Anton said.

There have been some unusual factors with this year's flu activity. Usually different regions of the country report widespread flu activity at different times.

“This year the entire U.S. reported widespread simultaneously and stayed there for weeks,” said Anton.

Medical professionals are also noticing a different trend in the most vulnerable age groups.

“The largest number of deaths occurs in the over-65 age group and typically the second largest number of deaths comes from children under the age of five, but what's different about this season is that the second largest group is people 50-64. Children under five are the third largest number,” Anton said.

The flu has already killed almost 2,900 Texans, 28 of them in Travis County.

That doesn't even include all of January because it takes several weeks for the State to receive death certificate data from the CDC.

Usually, flu activity dies down in March, but the season doesn't typically end until May. That's why doctors are still encouraging everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot.