Medical centers across California have seen a surge of patients in recent months dealing with influenza A. Flu season is at its halfway point, but the bug continues to spread at a rapid pace.
"It was right around just before Christmas that we had some days where it was entirely clear... that we were in the middle of a major flu epidemic," Dr. Brian Prestwich tells Take Two.
Prestwich is the lead physician at UCLA Health in Century City.
To date, the epidemic has sent thousands of Californians to the hospital. According to officials, 42 people under the age of 65 have died.
So why is this year's flu season so bad? And what's the situation on the ground?
Dr. Prestwich points to vaccines.
Influenza comes around every year, and it circulates the globe. The best way that we have to prevent illness from influenza from year to year during the flu season is by preparing vaccinations that are likely to be protective against the flu that arrives in the northern hemisphere in the early winter.
Unfortunately this year, the guessing on the part of the experts, with regards to which strain of the flu would be affecting the population was not as accurate as in other years, and so, the vaccine that we've been giving people is not as effective as we had hoped.
(Answers have been edited for clarity.)