BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the flu season looks to wind down, the CDC is warning of a new strain of flu that could hit children the hardest.
Doctors say it was the A-strain of the flu that peaked during this current flu season. With that now tapering off, doctors are gearing up for another season, this time for Type B.
It’s one of the worst flu seasons on record. The virus is responsible for 1 of every 10 deaths this year, including more than 100 children.
Sinai Hospital ER doctor Lisa Kirkland says while cases of the A-strain flu are winding down, the B-strain wave is on the way.
“What we’ve seen over the past week or so is an uptick in Flu B,” she said.
The CDC says this latest virus, which isn’t much different than the A-strain, is packing potent punch.
The agency says nearly 58 percent of flu cases in America last week tested positive for the B-strain.
The numbers are on par with those in Maryland, where the B-strain topped 60 percent of all cases reported.
Those with health problems, along with the young and old, are still the most vulnerable.
The CDC warns this strain could be more severe in kids.
But even with a less than effective vaccine this year, “The most effective was against one of the type A-strains and it was 65 percent effective. Flu B, between both adults and children, is about 40 percent effective,” Kirkland explains.
Health experts still urge people who have not received a flu shot to get one.
With 35 million Americans sidelined by the flu every year, Kirkland says some people could be hit with a double dose of the virus.
“We still have another month or so of increased potential for flu cases,” she said.
Doctors at Sinai say they’re already starting to treat patients for the B-strain flu, and they’re not sure how many more cases they’ll see before it’s all said and done.
Experts say if you’ve already received the flu shot, you won’t need it again to protect against the B-strain.
Find out more about Maryland’s flu numbers here.