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Experts: Second flu outbreak hitting the United States

OKLAHOMA CITY – The flu has claimed over 250 lives across Oklahoma this season, but health experts are warning about a second flu outbreak.

So far this year, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that 253 people have died from the flu since September.

In all, the total number of hospitalizations has risen to 4,524.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning this week that a new strain of the flu is making a push in the United States.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation immunologist Eliza Chakravarty, M.D., said influenza A has wreaked havoc across the country. Fortunately, those cases are now on the decline.

However, she says influenza B cases appear to be surging.

“Flu season is generally winding down, but we aren’t in the clear, and people need to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and their families, especially young children,” said Chakravarty. “Influenza B can be just as serious as influenza A, and it has been known to be severe in young children.”

Even though this year’s flu shot was largely ineffective against influenza A, experts say it appears to be more effective in preventing influenza B.

“It is actually possible to get sick with multiple strains of the flu during a single season,” said Chakravarty. “The flu is miserable. Don’t go through it if you don’t have to, especially twice.”