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      Mild flu season in MidMichigan

      Just like this winter season, the flu season has been mild.

      Health officials say it's difficult to determine why the numbers are so far down this season.

      The Centers for Disease Control says of the laboratory tests it received through the middle of this month less than 4%tested positively for the flu.

      Last year that number was 22-percentage points higher.

      The CDC says doctor visits for flu-like symptoms are down half of the number it expects each year.

      Local health officials say the numbers are also down in out state and the MidMichigan area.

      "Not to say it wouldn't pick up in the ending months of the season, but so far, not so bad," says John McKellar, Saginaw Co. Health Officer.

      Traditionally, flu cases peak in February and kill between 36,000 and 43,000 people across the country each year.

      In Saginaw County, last year's flu-like reports were 5,257. This year, it's nearly 1,600 fewer.

      Experts say education and accessibility may be the reasons.

      It could also be an effective flu shot and high vaccination rates among children.

      However, experts say the vaccine is still a hit-and-miss process.

      Experts estimate which three flu strains will be the most common to form each season's flu shot.

      In Saginaw County, the vaccination numbers are low.

      By November, 8% of people received the flu shot.

      The highest group was 21% of children six months to 4 years old.

      The lowest was 19 to 24 year olds.

      Three percent of that group received the vaccine.