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Flu comeback: Different strain could increase cases

New York is one of 16 states where flu continues to be widespread, according to the CDC's most recent influenza activity report.

The CDC warns the flu may be making a comeback.

Although confirmed cases have gone down nationally over the past couple of weeks, a more prevalent strain of the virus could bring those numbers back up.

The CDC reports that the “B” strain has now overtaken the “A” strain in prevalence.

Dr. Colin McMahon, chief medical officer at Buffalo General and Gates Vascular Institute, says because this is a different strain that’s picking up, those who catch it will likely be a whole new batch of people.

"We are starting to see that little uptick. It's not anywhere near as bad as it was in January, but we'll be very cautious as we watch the next week or so to see how high it's going to go,” Dr. McMahon said.

New York is among 16 states where it continues to be widespread, according to the CDC’s most recent influenza activity report.

"That's why we tell folks, even come January or February, it never hurts to get a flu shot because it helps prevent that second spike,” Dr. McMahon said.

A second flu spike is not abnormal for this time of year, but what is abnormal is how bad of a year it’s been for the virus. The “B” strain is just as vicious as the “A” strain, so symptoms could still be quite bad.

You can get ahead of it though if you feel you’re coming down with the flu. McMahon said seeing a doctor as soon as you know something's wrong can make getting through the flu a little more bearable. This especially matters to maximize the effectiveness of Tamiflu.

"The key to Tamiflu is taking it as early on with the onset of symptoms. For Tamiflu to be most effective, we like to see it taken in the first 24 to 48 hours,” he said.

Overall, more than 27,000 have been hospitalized across the country, and 137 children have died, according to NBC News.

The calendar may be April, but flu season can last through May.

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