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Dec 19, 3:17 PM EST

Flu season, early again, hitting hard in South and Midwest


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NEW YORK (AP) -- Health officials say the flu is now hitting hard in parts of the country, especially the South and Midwest.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported cases were widespread in 29 states last week. If the trend continues, it could bring another early peak to the flu season as happened in the last two winters.

Experts worry this will be a bad season because the dominant strain - seen in roughly two-thirds of recent tests - is a nasty bug not covered in this year's vaccine. But officials have not seen an unusually high number of hospitalizations or deaths so far.

Flu season traditionally peaks around February. But in the last two winters, flu peaked by early January.

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Online:

CDC flu update: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

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