El Niño helping with the flu fight

The number of people with the flu could be related to the unusual weather hitting California. But it may not be what you think - the number of sick people isn't going up. Fewer people are encountering the flu bug. 

The CDC reports there have been three flu related deaths in California this season compared to about 15 the same time last year. 

Health officials say the drop is linked to the rise in temperature.

"Certainly we've had one of the warmest winters on record," says Long Beach Memorial's Chief Medical Officer, Susan Melvin. 

Melvin confirmed the flu thrives in cold and dry weather. 

She also says in warm weather, people are outside, making it harder to pass on the virus. 

"Any time you put a population of people in an enclosed space there's just transmission of the virus," says Melvin. 

Even though it feels like El Niño is out of sight, JPL's climate scientist, Josh Willis, says we're not out of the woods yet. 

He says El Niño's heaviest rains are often in February. 

"We do expect this El Niño to continue into February, March, maybe even April. It's a big one," says Willis. 

That means there is still big chances of flooding but fewer chances of the flu. 

Health officials said said it's too soon to tell if a stronger flu vaccine could account for the drop in people with the flu.

Copyright 2016 FOX 11 Los Angeles : Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories