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Flu Widespread in 47 States, Vaccine 'Moderately' Effective: CDC
Date:1/14/2013

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Flu continues its march across the United States, with 47 states now reporting widespread influenza activity, up from 41 last week, federal health officials reported Friday.

However, flu has begun to subside in some areas, especially in the Southeast, where it showed up first.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that the current vaccine was found to be about 60 percent effective in warding off illness, which means it offers "moderate" protection from the flu, which is particularly severe this season.

Flu activity is worsening as peak flu season -- usually late January -- nears, CDC officials said at a news conference.

"Most of the country has seen, or is seeing, a lot of flu, and this may continue for a number of weeks," said CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"We are continuing to see influenza activity elevated in most of the U.S.," he added. "It may be decreasing in some areas, while other areas in the country, particularly the West, appear to be on the upswing."

Two more children died from flu complications last week, bringing the total to 20 youngsters this season, Frieden said.

The CDC does not keep an up-to-date tally of adult deaths.

Although flu remains at epidemic levels, the rate of doctor's visits for flu have dropped, Frieden said. "That's the trend," he said, adding that "the next week or two will show whether we have, in fact, crossed the peak or whether we'll see a resumption of increase."

Twenty-four states and New York City are reporting a high level of flu, down from 29 states last week. Sixteen states are reporting moderate levels, up from nine a week ago, Frieden said.

It's still not too late to get a flu shot, the CDC said. Researchers who evaluated the flu vaccine in a study of more than 1,000 children and adults found it 62 percent effective in w
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