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Flu hits hard

The flu season is continuing to hit Kentucky and other southern states hard as influenza begins to spread across the country.

The flu season got off to an early start in the South. The most recent weekly flu report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds high levels of flu-like illness in 19 states, including Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.

The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 3.7 million flu illnesses, 32,000 hospitalizations and 1,800 deaths from flu. So far in the 2019- 2020 flu season, CDC has reported 19 flu-associated deaths among children.

Illness are mostly being caused by influenza B/ Victoria viruses, which is unusual for this time of year because Type B does not usually become prevalent until later in the flu season.

CDC officials say it’s not too late to get vaccinated. They say the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu and its complications.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health last week reported the state’s first four influenza-related deaths of the 2019-2020 flu season, which runs through May.

“We extend our condolences to the families who have suffered losses during this flu season,” Dr. Angela Dearinger, commissioner of the agency, said in a news release. “These personal losses are a reminder for all of us that flu can be a serious illness, for young and old alike, and we strongly encourage people to protect themselves by getting a flu vaccination.”

Dearinger added that it is especially important for children and high-risk adults to get vaccinated.

— From AP, Kentucky Health News reports

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