COLUMBIA, Mo. -

The flu is quickly starting to pread across Mid-Missouri, but doctors say it's off to a slower start this year compared to last year.

"At this time last year, there were about 3,000 cases compared to about 600 cases in Missouri at this point this year," said Dr. Eric Bettis with Broadway Urgent Care.

Some doctors told ABC 17 News they believe the slower start could mean a better season with fewer cases of the illness.

Bettis said he has seen patients who have many viruses that seem like the flu, but haven't tested positive for influenza.  He said if anyone has flu-like symptoms, it's a good idea to head to the doctor.

"The flu can be fatal from the complications it causes," Bettis said. "It's especially dangerous for people with asthma or other illnesses that cause their immune system to be compromised."

The only real medication for the virus is Tamiflu.  It works to shorten the span of the illness by one or two days.