Earlier, Harsher Flu Season Expected

Health officials warn of an earlier start to the flu season.

Get ready for an earlier, harsher flu season than normal, health experts say.

Federal health leaders on Monday urged citizens to receive flu vaccines to combat a harsher strain of flu that's expected to sicken people earlier than usual, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Five states are reporting high levels of flu-like illnesses, the news agency reported. Flu season typically begins in January.

"It looks like it's shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell," intoned Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The flu vaccine is a "great match" for influenza A H3N2, one of the strains currently making the rounds, according to the newspaper. Thus far, 112 million Americans have received the flu vaccine, the newspaper reported.

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