WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The flu season appears to be waning in some parts of the country, but it's far too early to tell whether it's peaked, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.
Five fewer states reported high flu activity levels in the first week of January than the 29 that reported high activity levels in the last week of December, the CDC said in its weekly flu report.
This week, 24 states reported high illness levels, 16 reported moderate levels, five reported low levels and one reported minimal levels, suggesting that the flu season peaked in the last week of December.
Forty-seven states have now reported widespread influenza activity, according to the CDC. There's a chance the flu season may have peaked in some places, like parts of the South and Southeast, where the season started first, Thomas Frieden, the CDC 's director, told reporters Friday during a briefing. However, more flu is being reported in some places, such as in the West, where the season started the latest.
"It may be decreasing in some areas, but that's hard to predict, " Frieden said. "Influenza activity ebbs and flows. The only thing predictable about the flu is it's unpredictable."
The CDC also released a new study in its journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that found this year's flu vaccine is about 62 percent effective. That means a person who takes the shot is 62 percent less likely to have to go to a doctor to get treated for flu. That's based on test results collected from 1,155 children and adults who reported to doctors with respiratory infections. The agency recommends everyone over the age of six months gets a flu shot.
"Today, the flu vaccine is still by far the best prevention we have," said Frieden.