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CDC: Flu Deaths Increase “Sharply” As Epidemic Continues

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(CBS NEWS) – A flu epidemic continues to hit the United States, according to newly released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the week of January 6-12, 8.2 percent of all deaths were tied to influenza and pneumonia, the CDC reported, which exceeds the 7.2 percent threshold used to measure an epidemic. Last week 7.3 percent of deaths were attributed to flu and pneumonia. The CDC called the rise in proportion of flu-related deaths a sharp increase.

Forty-eight states are seeing widespread flu activity, meaning more than 50 percent of its counties are reporting flu, while some 30 states are experiencing high activity of influenza-like illness. Illnesses appear to be increasing in the West, and the only two states not showing widespread activity are Tennessee and Hawaii.

“The bottom line is that the flu season continues,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, told reporters during a Friday conference call. “We’re in the middle of flu season, about half way through.”

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