While they tend to be the very old or young or the medically compromised, every year some young, active, healthy people die, too, says Adalja. This year's vaccine only protects about 30 percent of flu, and compounding that is the aggressive strain going around is a strong one.
In Swampscott, Massachusetts, Phyllis Gotlib, a beloved 68-year-old music teacher at the Clark, Hadley and Stanley elementary school died from flu complications.
But he points out that one ever said the flu shot was ideal. At the time, public health experts were anxious about what the lack of data would do to state departments' response to the flu, but it turned out that there had been little information to report anyway since the shutdown happened at the start of the flu season and lasted 16 days.
Through last week, almost half of Connecticut's 1,342 lab tests, that were positive for the flu, came from hospitalized patients.
"To be honest, in the U.S. today, there's so many people walking around with at least one comorbidity - diabetes or hypertension or congestive heart failure or COPD - you're talking about a tremendous number of people", said Ardolic. If you haven't had one, it's recommended you do.
It was 100 years ago this month, 1918, when the deadly, worldwide flu pandemic began, infecting 500 million people and killing an estimated 50-100 million by the end of the outbreak in 1919.
With the 2018 flu season among the worst in recent memory, experts gathered to discuss and answer questions about the rampant outbreak of influenza in CT.
Sick people can pass flu to others just by breathing, according to a new study showing how the virus can spread by airborne routes, with the role of transmission from coughing and sneezing smaller than previously thought.
Influenza activity has increased sharply in Georgia and across the United States during recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who contracted the aggressive virus often appeared fine in the morning and were dead that night. People should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth, particularly if their hands aren't clean.
In the study, the scientists found large quantities of infectious flu virus in the exhaled breath of people with the disease, highlighting the importance of "airborne" transmission in flu spread.
Experts say even if the vaccine is not a ideal match, the vaccine can still help lessen the severity of the flu, and reduce the chance of experiencing severe complications from the flu.
There is hope for a universal flu vaccine in the medium to long term, said Bogoch. "You'd want something to block infection if possible", he said.
"We know that respiratory infections are easily transmitted", she added. That's in part because there are so many strains, and the virus is prone to mutations that change its virulence and transmissibility. Another heavily contributing factor was the fact that there were no vaccines or drugs at that time to prevent its spread. She said that while we may be peaking with the current wave of flu, it's not unusual to have a second wave come through.