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US Flu Season Earlier, More Severe

US Flu Season Earlier, More Severe

NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – Influenza is hitting the US unusually early and hard, resulting in the most hospitalizations at this point in the season in more than a decade.

While flu season is usually between October and May, peaking in December and January, it’s arrived about six weeks earlier this year with uncharacteristically high illness.

There have already been at least 880,000 cases of influenza illness, 6,900 hospitalizations and 360 flu-related deaths nationally, including one child, according to estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Not since the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic has there been such a high burden of flu, a metric the CDC uses to estimate a season’s severity based on laboratory-confirmed cases, doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths,” a media report said.

Activity is high in the US south and southeast, and is starting to move up the Atlantic coast, it said.

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