(AP) - Health officials say the flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly ten years and it could be a bad one.
Flu cases have jumped in five southern states - Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. An uptick in flu reports like this usually doesn't occur until after Christmas.
The primary strain circulating is one that tends to cause more severe illness, especially in the elderly.
But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation seems to be fairly well prepared. More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is well matched to this year's strains.