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CDC: Flu elevated, but ebbing in U.S.

ATLANTA, Feb. 22 (UPI) — Influenza activity remained elevated in the United States, but decreased in most areas and some states have minimal activity, federal health officials said.

The weekly report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found for the week ending Feb. 16, of 8,144 specimens tested 16.8 percent were positive for influenza, down from 19.7 percent the previous week.

Fourteen pediatric deaths were reported, bringing to 78 the number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported to the CDC 2012-13. 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.

More than 50 percent of reported hospitalizations were among adults age 65 and older.

All regions reported declining levels of influenza-like illness activity. Only three states — Nevada, New Jersey and Vermont — experienced high influenza-like illness activity.

Thirteen states and New York City experienced moderate influenza-like illness activity: Alabama, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Low influenza-like illness activity was reported in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Twenty-three states — Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming — experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity.

Widespread influenza activity — more than 50 percent of the state reporting flu — was reported by Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Puerto Rico and 21 states reported regional influenza activity: Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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

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

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