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Pandemic watch: flu activity remains high and deadly

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Friday's report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that influenza activity remained high in the United States.

The latest Flu watch report from the CDC also shows that for the first time during the current flu season the number of deaths reported due to pneumonia or influenza has spiked well above the epidemic level.

Flu activity by state continues to be the highest in the Southwest region of the United States. Thirteen states experienced high flu activity, as illustrated in the Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) graphic attached to this article.

During the current reporting period 8.1% of all deaths were due to pneumonia or influenza, well above the 7.2% epidemic threshold. Each week the CDC collects statistics of 122 cities across the United States where pneumonia or influenza was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of death. For the week ending January 18, 2014, there were 1,104 pneumonia and influenza deaths on the CDC 122 Cities Mortality Reporting Systems report.

Scattered reports from across the country show spikes in the number of flu deaths.

In Texas, although fewer infections seemed to signal an easing of the local outbreak, Dallas County reported five more flu deaths Friday.

In California, there have been 95 confirmed flu-related deaths, up 50 since health officials released figures last week.

Just because the flu activity in your area seems to be easing up, don't let your guard down. The flu can still be deadly.

In terms of disaster preparedness or emergency preparedness, something like the flu is often overlooked. A pandemic can wipe out a high percentage of the world population, but a local epidemic can be just as harmful to you and your family.

We will keep you posted on any major news on flu activities and the threat of a possible pandemic.

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Want to learn more?

Confused about what is a pandemic? And what can you do to prevent the flu? Check out our article on answering common pandemic questions and survival information.

Do you have tips to share on how you prepare for flu season?.

Connect with Tom Peracchio on social media... @Gu42 on Twitter , Guru42 on Google+ or Guru42 on Facebook.

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