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Flu peaks in W.Va.; CDC declares epidemic


Charleston Gazette
By Lydia Nuzum

West Virginia is seeing outbreaks of one strain of influenza two months ahead of normal flu season, according to state officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared a flu epidemic, as of Tuesday.

The number of people seeking medical care for flu-like symptoms at West Virginia medical facilities has risen from 1.7 percent to 6.4 percent, said Shannon McBee, an epidemiologist and the influenza coordinator for the West Virginia Bureau for Public health.

“Essentially, we’re seeing levels of flu activity that are similar to what we saw during the 2009 flu pandemic. This is the first week that West Virginia has reported widespread activity to the CDC,” McBee said. “The flu season has started about six to eight weeks earlier than we normally see in West Virginia — cases here don’t ordinarily peak until late January or early February, so we’re running a little earlier.”

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