Flu now widespread across South Dakota

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Flu season hit Texas early this year, and the number of cases across the state increased again this week. "Getting the flu vaccine can prevent people from getting sick, or may lessen the severity of symptoms for those who become ill".

Though it's still too early to say whether this winter will be a bad flu season, epidemiologists in 36 states - including NY - have already reported "widespread influenza activity", according to data released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

Of those, the CDC estimates that as many as 56,000 have died from the viral infection in a given recent year.

Flu hospitalizations are rising steadily, and last week were at an overall rate of 8.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population.

As of this week, there was "high activity" of the flu - the highest prevalence ranking - in almost half of the US.

Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, medical officer of health with AHS Central Zone, said there were only four flu-related deaths this time past year in Alberta, 1,026 cases, and 259 in hospital.

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Health officials in NY say the flu is spreading rapidly across the state. "H3N2 viruses continue to predominate". But it's hard to track exact numbers because only a certain percentage of people with flu symptoms go the hospital for testing.

The CDC has also discovered that this year's strain of flu is "only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year", Radke said.

'There is not much we can do on a state level, ' said Anton, 'it's an every-year epidemic'.

Children under the age of five (5) are asked not to visit patients.

The new report underscores a warning that came from the CDC 2 days ago about steadily climbing flu dominated by H3N2, a subtype known for its heavy impact, especially on seniors and young children.

'We don't know if this is the peak, but we kind of don't think it is, ' Anton said.