The flu season is off to an earlier start than in years past, and the CDC is warning it could be an especially bad one.

FOX News Radio's Chris Hoenig reports:

Flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly a decade.

(Dr. Frieden) "The early nature of the cases, as well as the specific strains we're seeing suggest that this could be a bad flu year."

Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Thomas Frieden says one such strain tends to be more severe for the elderly.  Suspected flu cases have jumped in five southern states, an uptick that usually isn't seen until after Christmas.

Still, health officials say folks are well prepared - more than a third of Americans have already gotten flu vaccines this season.

Chris Hoenig, FOX News Raido.