ATLANTA, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Federal health officials report influenza activity in the week ending Oct. 12 was low overall in the United States, except for the Southeast.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the one exception is in the Southeast region of the country, where one of several key indicators CDC monitors is elevated.
"The percent of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza is higher in the Southeast than in the rest of the country," the CDC report said. "Flu activity often begins to increase during October, so this elevated indicator is not unusual for this time of year."
Increases in influenza activity across the United States are expected in the coming weeks, the CDC said.
"Yearly vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths," CDC officials said. "If you have not gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now."