Early flu season accelerates; no peak yet, CDC says

by JoNel Aleccia, NBC News  |  published on January 7, 2013

The nation’s early flu season continued to grow in the U.S. this week, with no sign yet of a peak in the spread of coughing, achy, feverish illness, health officials said Friday.

“I think we’re still accelerating,” said Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman.

Twenty-nine states and New York City reported high levels of flu activity, up from 16 states and NYC the previous week. Flu was widespread in 41 states, up from 31 states, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of the week ending Dec. 29, 2,257 people had been hospitalized with flu, and 18 children had died from complications of the illness, CDC reported.

“It’s about five weeks ahead of the average flu season,” said Lyn Finelli, lead of the surveillance and response team that monitors influenza for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We haven’t seen such an early season since 2003 to 2004.”

That’s the year that Joe Lastinger’s 3-year-old daughter, Emily, fell ill with the flu in late January and died five days later.

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