NEW YORK (AP) – Like a case of the flu itself, the outbreak hitting every county in New York state is likely to get worse before getting better.
The state Health Department says the number of patients admitted to hospitals with confirmed influenza spiked 55 percent last week, and one child died.
Mirroring a wave of illness throughout 47 states, doctors say flu season started early. Nearly 7 percent of visits to health care providers in 2013's first week were flu or flu-like illnesses, compared with a typical 2 percent.
It's likely to climb higher before tapering off, because flu is highly contagious and victims can spread it even after feeling better.
Doctors say the best defense is a flu shot. This year's vaccine targets the most common strain of flu being seen.
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