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Flu claims seven lives in U.S. state of Arkansas

01-09-2013 11:04 BJT

HOUSTON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Influenza is growing more widespread in the U.S. state of Arkansas this season and has claimed seven lives there so far, state health authorities said Tuesday.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) said reports of large numbers of flu infections and hospitalizations are coming in from all regions of the state in this flu season, according to the website of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Health experts said officials expect about 1.5 million Arkansans to get vaccinated against the flu. The vaccination reportedly prevents roughly 80 percent of recipients from getting the flu.

This is the worst influenza season in Arkansas since 2009 and that it' s "hit early and hard," health officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that Influenza activity would be increasing across most of the U.S..

"Reports of influenza-like-illness (ILI) are nearing what have been peak levels during moderately severe seasons," said Joe Bresee, chief of epidemiology and prevention at the CDC's influenza division.

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza each year, according to the CDC.

According to the agency's most recent weekly influenza report, 29 states are reporting high levels of the flu, and 18 pediatric deaths have been attributed to the flu this season.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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