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Flu, pneumonia deaths hit ‘epidemic’ levels in U.S.

Deaths from influenza and pneumonia have hit “epidemic” levels in the U.S. as flu activity became widespread in 36 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials reported 837 flu and pneumonia deaths to the CDC through its 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System during the 51st week of the year. Those deaths accounted for 6.8 percent of the 12,358 total deaths that week, just meeting the epidemic threshold.

The area that includes cities in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin reported 151 deaths, the most among the nine regions in the system. Another 147 deaths were tallied in the Pacific region, which includes California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.

I've never gotten the flu shot. This year I'm thinking it might not be a bad idea. Do you get flu shots?




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.