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U.S. flu widespread, but going down

ATLANTA, Feb. 15 (UPI) — Influenza is down in most states but still widespread and elevated in the United States, federal health officials said.

The weekly flu report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for the week ended Feb. 9 found of 7,608 specimens tested, 1,499 samples, or 19.7 percent, were positive for influenza, down from 23.3 percent the previous week.

Five pediatric deaths were reported, for a pediatric death total of 64 for this year’s flu season. Thirty-four pediatric deaths were reported during the 2011-12 flu season, 122 were reported in the 2010-11 season and 282 were reported during the H1N1 2009-10 flu season. The CDC has only required states to report influenza-related pediatric deaths for the last decade.

High influenza-associated illness activity was reported in: Alabama, California, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Moderate influenza-associated illness activity was reported in: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia experienced low influenza-associated illness activity: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming.

Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin reported minimal influenza-associated illness.

Widespread influenza activity — more than 50 percent of the state reporting flu — was reported by 31 states.

Puerto Rico and 14 states reported regional influenza activity: Alabama, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.

The District of Columbia and Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Rhode Island reported local influenza activity. Guam and Delaware reported sporadic influenza activity.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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