Okay, I really don't know how bad it is. Consider this anecdotal. Our school has 12 kids out of 224 out right now, with three of them confirmed influenza cases. We keep track of them on a large marker board. Regular illnesses/personal issue absences in black, flu absences in blue. I expect the blue numbers to climb, and if they reach a certain level we may get a few days off.
Kids have been warned not to come to school if they're sick, but you know how it is. You feel a little in the dumps but aren't sure it's influenza until more symptoms hit. By that time you've gone about your daily business and acted as a vector all over the place.
In preparation for flu season, I had a vaccination back in December. From the news stories I've read coming out of the US, this gives me about a 65% immunity factor. That is, if the vaccine I took is roughly the same formula as this year's batch in the States. I understand that one is an extremely good match for the flu strains going around this year. Let's hope that holds true for all of us teachers here in Japan who went and got ourselves stuck.
Hey, let me take a moment to tell you this. If you ever have to have blood drawn or a vaccination here in Japan, don't sweat it. I've done both and both were surprisingly painless. Just a pinch. I'm used to getting stabbed half to death. I'll never forget having blood taken when I had my tonsils out years ago. I felt as if I'd spent the evening in Whitechapel with Saucy Jack. Probably only lost slightly more blood than he would have taken, Boss.