Widespread Flu Activity Across U.S.; 3 Deaths in S. Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Widespread Flu Activity Across U.S.; 3 Flu-Related Deaths in S. Nevada

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there's been an increase in flu activity over the past few weeks. Twenty states are now experiencing high influenza like illness with hundreds of hospitalizations.

"We see influenza increase in the winter months but it is increasing relatively earlier then we usually see. Often the increase peaks in late January early February," says Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of the flu virus circulating is the H1N1 strain, which in 2009 caused the first flu pandemic in the U.S. in more than 40 years. The strain tends to affect children and young and middle-age adults. So far at least six children have died this season.

"Those are individuals we know had more severity more severe disease especially pregnant women as well. So those are things we are concerned we are going to see again if it's another predominant H1N1 year."

The highest rates of flu have been reported in Texas, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama. Health officials say three people have died of flu-related complications in southern Nevada so far this season. The Southern Nevada Health District reported Tuesday that two middle-aged people and an elderly person succumbed to the virus.

Government health officials say H1N1 is covered in the vaccine, so it's critical to get protected if you haven't already.

Every year the flu kills about 36,000 people.

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