Thousands of people die every year from flu, which
peaks in the United States between October and March. The flu is
spreading quickly this season, with 25 states already reporting
cases, the CDC said.
"We are seeing a big uptick in disease in the past couple of weeks.
The virus is all around the United States right now," said Dr. Joe
Bresee, chief of Epidemiology and Prevention in the CDC's Influenza
In 2009-2010, the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, spread from
Central Mexico to 74 other countries, killing an estimated 284,000
people, according to the CDC.
While younger people were more susceptible to H1N1 in 2009, Bresee
said it is too early to tell whether the same will be true this
This season's virus has killed six children in the United States,
according to CDC data. The agency does not track adult deaths, but
dozens have been reported around the country.
"There is still a lot of season to come. If folks haven't been
vaccinated, we recommend they do it now," Bresee said.
Texas has been one of the harder-hit states, where at least 25
people have died this season from the flu, local health officials
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The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an
"influenza health alert" on Dec. 20, advising clinicians to
consider antiviral treatment, even if an initial rapid-flu test
comes back negative. Texas health officials also encouraged people
to get a flu vaccination.
"The flu is considered widespread in Texas," Carrie Williams, a
spokeswoman for the state's health department, said.
(Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz;
editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)
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