North Texas doctors seeing increase in second flu strain

Hospitals in North Texas are reporting an increasing number of flu cases this season. And in the last couple of weeks, two strains of the flu have begun to overlap.

Type A flu hits people first around December. Type B is usually a milder form of the flu that shows up later in the flu season. But it’s early this year.

“We're seeing Flu A and Flu B overlapping. So last week one day, I had all patients with Flu B. The next day — all Flu A,” explained Dr. Eriel Hayes with Cook Children’s Medical Center. “Normally, we'd see a lot of Flu A especially during this time of the year. Usually closer to March is when we'll see more of Flu B cases."

Tarrant Public Health Department says the number of reported type B flu cases in the county nearly doubled to 23 percent from December to January.

John Peter Smith Hospital says it more than 500 positive flu tests already this month. Doctors there think the positive tests represent only half of the actual number of flu cases. Doctors say it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"You just have more chances of getting sick when there are multiple viruses out there,” Hayes said.

Cook Children's Hospital says it had 104 confirmed Flu B cases last week. That's up from 60 the week before.

If you've already had Flu A, you can still catch Flu B.

"There some people who will have both strains of the virus at the same time,” Hayes warned. “So they seem a little more sick because they are dealing with two types of the flu at once.”