While states such as California and North Carolina have seen significant numbers of flu-related deaths this season, U.S. health officials said Friday that the nationwide impact of influenza seems to be milder than last winter.
In California, Fresno County has seen six flu-related deaths since October, the Fresno Bee reported on Friday, while a total of 42 lives have been lost throughout the state, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In North Carolina, state health officials said six people died from the flu last week, raising the death toll for the season to 16. Three people have died from the flu in Maine so far this season, according to the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Arkansas Department of Health said Tuesday that a total of 11 people have died due to influenza.
The predominant strain this year is influenza A H1N1, which officials said tends to have less severe symptoms than the predominant strain that circulated last season.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has no estimate of total deaths so far this season, partly because it’s so early. Flu usually takes off after Christmas and peaks around February.
Meanwhile, four people have died of the flu so far this season in Indiana, according to the state’s department of health.
A 3-year-old girl died of the flu in suburban Chicago on Dec. 22, marking the state’s first pediatric flu death of the season.
Flu symptoms can include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and tiredness.
Public health experts say flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.