Lifestyle & Belief

New virus strains expected in 2012 flu season


A boy is vaccinated during a day of the vaccination campaign against Influenza.


Jesus Alcazar

Get thee to a doctor! New virus strains are expected this flu season and they could be pretty brutal.

Last year's flu season was the mildest on record, with record-low hospitalizations and a short season overall, USA Today reported.

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But that was largely because the flu strains in circulation last year were similar to those in 2010.

That's not the case this year. Experts say two new strains of influenza have begun circling the globe, and one of them is much harsher than other flu strains, Fox News reported.

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"People cannot become complacent this year," Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told Fox News.

The flu season typically begins as early as October and can last through May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the 2009-10 season, thousands of people were hospitalized and many died in one of the biggest flu pandemics in recent history. Vaccine shortages were also reported in some areas.

But health officials told CBS News there are more than enough flu shots to go around this year and urged everyone to get vaccinated.