High levels of influenza have been reported across the Garden State since the beginning of the year but things do seem to be changing a bit, particularly in the western portions of North and Central Jersey.

“We’re starting to see less influenza-like illness activity in those areas but we continue to see high activity in all the other regions of the state," New Jersey state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan said.

“It’s still a little too early to tell whether this will represent a sustained trend moving forward,” she added.

“While we are seeing some indicators that there might be some less intense activity right now, our flu season usually goes up until around April; it tails off toward May. So we’ll continue to monitor.”

As to whether or not this year’s flu shot is a good match for the influenza that’s circulating, Tan said “the good news is that the preliminary vaccine effectiveness estimates show that the flu vaccine this season is reducing the overall risk of having to seek medical care for flu illness by about half among the people who got vaccinated.”

She noted it’s still not too late to get a flu shot, and if you do get vaccinated now there may be some positive "carry-over" protection to flu season next year.

“But we recommend getting the flu shot every single year because we know that flu strains may change in the community. Also the protection does wane over time," Tan said.

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