DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the flu virus is starting to surge in other parts of the world which can be an indication of what’s to come here in the U.S.

Since testing has increased, more cases may become apparent. However, some Miami Valley health leaders say this year’s flu season may be very different than years before.

“This flu season is going to be very different from the last two because there is more influenza circulating around the world,” said Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon. “It means people that are traveling will more likely encounter it and then pass it from one country to another.”

Dr. Colon says over the last two years, influenza was nearly undetectable in Australia. He says people were wearing masks and not traveling as much, however, two years later, the flu is starting to come back.

“We have seen a decrease in influenza vaccinations associated with fear with vaccines tied into with COVID over the last two years also,” said Dr. Colon. “All of this tied together will lead to more influenza being out there.”

Australia’s flu season began much earlier than usual, which Dr. Colon says it can be an indicator of a severe season here in the U.S. Additionally, there’s been a significant drop in people seeking influenza vaccines which could be linked to COVID-19 hesitancy. The combination of both problems could lead to a true twindemic. 

“The twindemic didn’t manifest itself before but this might be the year we see both diseases circulating around so vaccinating for flu is tremendously important and also wearing masks to prevent both diseases,” said Dr. Colon.

The CDC says two groups should get flu vaccines earlier if possible, young children and women in their third trimester of pregnancy.