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(Amy Lieu, Fox News) More than 7,000 cases of influenza have been confirmed so far this flu season — more than double the number this time last year.
Ninety percent of U.S. states report some type of local, regional or widespread flu activity.
The flu is now widespread in Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Massachusetts, says the CDC.
Tens of thousands of flu deaths considered ‘normal’
Mary Anderson, manager of infection control at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., told the Chicago Tribune that the flu is more serious than the common cold, and this year’s H3N2 virus is cause for concern.
“Those strains hit hardest among the very young and very old,” Anderson said.
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Vaccinations can decrease the chance of spreading the virus to at-risk populations, Anderson said.
However, the flu vaccine was reported to be only 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain, according to USA Today, citing the public health journal Eurosurveillance.
Each year since 2010, the flu virus has caused between 9.2 and 35.6 million illnesses in the U.S.
Those cases resulted in between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths each year. Read the full story at Fox News.
[MAP: The CDC reports the flu is widespread in Massachusetts, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. This puts major cities such as Boston, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City on high alert. – Editor]