ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal officials said
Wednesday that flu activity has reached widespread levels in all but
five U.S. states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the
flu has reached widespread status -- the CDC's highest outbreak level --
in 10 states since last week: Alabama, Alaska, Maine, Maryland,
Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Health departments in the District of Columbia and New
York City also reported widespread flu activity, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said. The agency said influenza-like illnesses
are increasing overall, but are decreasing in some areas, including
Texas and Colorado, two states that were hit particularly hard by the
flu early this season.
CDC officials have characterized this season's outbreak
as a likely epidemic, and are particularly concerned that the outbreak
has killed at least 42 children.
Of the five states where the flu is not widespread,
Hawaii has seen only localized outbreaks, while regional outbreaks have
been reported in Florida, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.
The other 35 states on the widespread list are Arizona,
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho,
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi,
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North
Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West
Virginia, and Wyoming.