OKLAHOMA CITY - The number of flu-related deaths in Oklahoma is up to 22, according to the State Department of Health, with four new flu deaths recorded so far in 2018.

The current flu season began on Sept. 1, 2017. More than 1,000 hospitalizations have been reported since flu season began. 

Oklahoma is one of 23 states reporting widespread influenza activity.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus which is spread by infected people coughing, sneezing or touching a surface handled by others.

Its impact can be severe in some cases, especially among seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions, according to the CDC.

The CDC states the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. Although some news sources have reported this year's vaccine is only expected to be 10 percent effect, CDC experts say that is incorrect for the U.S.

"The 10 percent vaccine effectiveness (VE) figure reported in the news is an Australian interim estimate of the vaccine’s benefit against one flu virus (the H3N2 virus) that circulated in Australia during its most recent flu season," the website states.

The CDC said they believe in the U.S., a better indicator is the vaccine's effectiveness last year. That was 39 percent overall.