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CDC: Widespread flu in every state except Hawaii

CDC: Widespread flu in every state except Hawaii (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A 10-year-old boy and a 40-year-old mom are the latest flu-related deaths in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says widespread flu activity is now reported in every state, except Hawaii. It has been said that this season could get even worse.

You just don't think that a healthy 40-year-old woman is going to die from the flu. That's what Walt Oxley says happened to his daughter, Katie Oxley Thomas. He says the California mother of three was in excellent health. She practiced yoga and ran three marathons.

“She was just in the peak of her life,” said Walt.

Oxley says Thomas visited the hospital twice in two days and both times she diagnosed with the flu and sent home to rest.

She was admitted to intensive care just days later and died within hours.

“The flu had gone to pneumonia that had gone to septic shock and it consumed her so quickly it was - it's still hard to grasp,” said Walt.

Thomas is one of 42 people in California under 65 who have died from the flu this season. Nationwide, 26 states are reporting high "influenza-like-illness activity”, according to the CDC.

“Unfortunately, this year's influenza season is proving particularly difficult,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC.

Over the weekend, 10-year-old Nico Mallozzi was traveling with his hockey team in western New York when he was diagnosed with the flu. He died on his way back home to Connecticut.

At least 22 children have been reportedly killed by the flu this season. The CDC's Daniel Jernigan believes that number is likely much higher.

“These deaths are likely under-reported,” said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, the CDC’s Influenza Division Director. “Sometimes maybe half of what's actually out there or even a third of what's out there.”

Northern Kentucky reports six deaths so far from the flu. All have been in adults. Ohio doesn't require adult deaths to be reported, but say at least two child deaths in the state have been reported.

The dominant flu strain circulating this year is flu a virus H3N2, but health officials say “Flu B” activity is also now increasing

The best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot.

If you get the flu, you can get anti-viral medications to shorten the severity and duration of the flu.

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