There have been 20 pediatric deaths from flu this year, today's CDC report showed. While the CDC doesn't track adult deaths from influenza, approximately 24,000 die annually.
There are some indications that the flu season has already peaked. The season started a bit earlier than usual, so the declines seen in some southeastern states could indicate the downside of a peak. Flu season usually averages 12 consecutive weeks, according to the CDC.
"My anticipation is that in two or three weeks we'll be on the backside of this," Temte said.
Trends are hard to predict, however, and data over the holiday week usually isn't representative of an average week, which can skew the overall results. Next week's data may show a more obvious downward slope.
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"The only thing predictable about the flu is that it's unpredictable," said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden on a media conference call. "It ebbs and flows during flu season."
It takes a while for the season to peter out, however; new cases still pop up 10-12 weeks after the peak. That means there's still plenty of potential benefits from the vaccine, experts said. The CDC recommended calling your provider ahead of time, however: the vaccine is available, but some supplies at some clinics have run out.