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CDC Officially Declares Flu Outbreak an Epidemic

The CDC reported friday that with 7.3 percent of deaths in the United States last week the result of pneumonia and the flu, it has reached epidemic proportions.

Reuters reported Friday that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. It is reportedly "widespread" in all but three states and 7.3 percent of deaths last week were the result of pneumonia and the flu.

It reports that 7.2 percent is considered epidemic status with 22 children dead across the U.S. as a result. Nine of the 10 U.S. regions had "elevated" flu activity. The other region, the Southwest and California, had "normal" flu activity last week.

This year's flu vaccine is 62 percent effective, scientists reported on Friday in the CDC's weekly publication.

Overall in Georgia, activity was considered moderate at this time in 2011, according to Flu Trends. Flu Trends is a Google tool that uses aggregated search data to estimate flu activity.

If you're thinking of getting a flu shot you can find  locations here or by typing in your ZIP code above.

According to this week's CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are on the increase across the country. 

Tens of thousands of Americans die from flu each year, even in non-epidemic years. 

Experts recommend the vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. Even if it does not prevent flu, it can reduce the severity of the illness and prevent pneumonia and other life-threatening results of flu.

Public health authorities correctly forecast which flu strains would emerge this season and therefore so the correct immunization was developed. Officials also say it is possible that although the outbreak struck early, it also might have already peaked.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following information:

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CDC: Get Your Flu Shot

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