However, health officials say the flu shot works better against that strain.
Those in at-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic illness. That applies to data collected on both adults and children.
The severity of last year's flu season, which killed an estimated 80,000 people, may be one of the reasons behind the slow start to the 2018-2019 season. (Lab-confirmed cases represent a small percentage of all flu cases, often just the ones that require hospitalization). "Among hospitalizations so far this year, the highest rates that we are seeing are in those who are under age 5", said Dr. Daniel Jernigan.More news: Harley-Davidson’s Electric LiveWire Bike Has 110 Mile Range, Costs $29,799
The HSE has urged all people in at-risk groups for the flu to get vaccinated if they have not done so already.
Ottawa, in contrast, was seeing a lower rate of influenza overall and among children than the national rates as of the end of the year (the most recent numbers).
Last season at that point, 11,275 cases of lab-confirmed flu had been reported. Typically, the Atlantic province begins seeing a surge of flu in late December, following the close-quarters socializing of the Christmas holidays when the virus finds lots of hosts to infect.More news: Honor 10 Lite launching in India on January 15 as Flipkart exclusive
The viruses circulating this year are another reason for the milder season.
New Jersey has been especially hit hard with flu cases now high around the entire state. Hospitals do not offer flu shots or routinely test for the flu. Data suggests that more people got vaccinated earlier this year than they did last year, perhaps motivated by memories of the prior season.
"While most people will get better themselves from flu, anyone who is concerned about their condition should telephone their GP or an out of hours medical service so they can arrange to be treated in a way that does not put others at risk", he explained.More news: Idris Elba Enlists Daniel Craig for Latest James Bond Joke
If symptoms become severe - such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, extreme weakness, lips turning blue or passing out - go to emergency, say public health officials.