EL PASO, Texas -- Texas Public Health officials warn of a possible severe flu season.
State health officials told ABC-7 they are seeing an increase in flu cases across the state.
"We saw an early increase in flu in Texas and actually many of the states across the southeastern United States," said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, the interim commissioner for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Officials said the state reports more influenza-like illnesses happening earlier than in other flu seasons.
According to Dr. Shuford, there are several reasons why they are concerned about this flu season. She said flu activity over the last two years was relatively low.
This is likely because of all of the health prevention protocols that were in place during the pandemic.
Officials said states like Texas and New Mexico are already experiencing very high activity levels.
As for the severity, "We could see high levels of flu activity sustain for the next several months. We might see an early peak to our flu activity, with flu levels falling in the near future and then staying low for the rest of the season, or we could see a peak now and then a peak again later. We just don't know for sure," Dr. Shuford said.
Officials said vaccination remains the best line of defense against severe illnesses.
"Vaccination remains our best defense against severe illness from flu, especially for more vulnerable populations like older adults, very young children, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women," she said.