The flu. It presents itself with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, body aches, and fever -- an illness that has its own season lasting from November till the end of March. And just like last year, it seems the area has dodged another influenza outbreak. But why?
"We really don't know. Some certainly can be the immunization levels within the community. Some can be the mild winters that we've had the past couple of years," says Stephen Tackitt of the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.
"You're going to have mild flu years and you're going to have severe flu years. You're going to have flu years with a number of cases maybe won't be as high and the severity of the illness won't be as bad," says Dr. Dean Sienko of the Ingham County Health Department.
Every year the Centers for Disease Control releases a weekly map estimating flu activity: colored coded with red as widespread, blue as regional, and purple as local. The most recent shows Michigan with regional activity which could possibly turn into an outbreak.
"The likelihood of that happening is not near as great now cause we're near the end of quote the flu season," explains Tackitt.
Despite last year's mild flu season and this year's quickly coming to an end, experts warn against complacency.
Dr. Sienko says, "We know that this virus can cause some serious illness in people and causes numbers of people to die."
"Next year is a completely new season, completely new vaccine. Please get immunized," says Tackitt.
Because it's protection against a virus that changes every year.