CDC confirms flu season mild in comparison to recent years

U.S. health officials recently announced that this season's flu season started later than most and was one of the mildest on record.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that this season sent fewer people to the doctor with flu-like symptoms and had fewer hospitalizations and flu-related deaths in comparison to recent seasons, according to KSLA.

Dr. Joseph Bresee, the chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch in the CDC's influenza division, said that several factors may have lead to the mild season.

"The viruses that circulated this year were similar to the viruses that circulated last year," Bresee said, KSLA reports. "So, there are probably a lot of people in the United States [who were] exposed to these viruses before, so the level of immunity of the population was probably fairly high going into the year."

Bresee also said that since the vaccines remained relatively unchanged over the last few years, more people remained vaccinated against the prevalent flu strains. In addition, Breslee said, a mild winter across much of the country appeared to slow the spread of the virus.

"Flu viruses change. We never know whether it's going to be severe or mild. The fact that we had a mild flu season this year doesn't mean that next year you will see a mild season as well," Bresee said, according to KSLA. "Flu is unpredictable, it's serious, and you ought to get vaccinated against the flu that comes around next year."