Southern States Are Getting Hit the Hardest by the Flu This Season

Flu season is in full swing, but it's not going to be a fun winter for those in the South.

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the states experiencing the most widespread flu cases are in the southern region.

The CDC releases a weekly report on flu activity. The report on the week ending on Dec. 2 found "widespread influenza activity" in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia in the South, as well as Massachusetts in the Northeast. Regional influenza activity has been reported in Puerto Rico and 18 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington).

The three to start experiencing high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity are all in the South — Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Texas are experiencing moderate ILI activity.

Since Oct. 1, there have been 856 confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations. This year, the only two influenza-related pediatric deaths have been reported, both in November.

Popular Science reported earlier this week that this year's flu season is expected to be tough, especially since it's coming early.

"At this point, I’m prepared to say I expect an early flu season," Richard Zimmerman, a professor of family medicine at University of Pittsburgh, told Popular Science.

“We are seeing sort of an early uptick in ILI,” Lynnette Brammer, head of the CDC influenza division’s domestic surveillance team, added. “The percentage of outpatient visits is higher than what we’ve seen for the same weeks since the 2010-11 season, but it’s only by 1-2 weeks.”

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With the flu season here, doctors recommend getting vaccinated.

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