Early flu outbreak "unprecedented" says CDC - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Early flu outbreak "unprecedented" says CDC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) -- The H1N1 flu bug is responsible for a surge in illnesses across the country, with public health officials calling it "unprecedented" for this early in the flu season.

The flu is widespread in 41 states now, up from 37 last week.  The latest numbers are from the centers for disease control and prevention.

The CDC has received reports of 11 more kids dying from the flu, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 86 since the outbreak began in the spring.

A typical flu season has only about 40 to 50 child deaths.

Teens are being hit especially hard, accounting for about half of the deaths this fall.

Experts say there are warning signs parents can look for when it comes to the most severe cases of the flu, such as a child who's difficult to wake, not eating well, or a child who is having trouble breathing.

"If your child is ill and is getting better, and then starts to get worse, that's a warning sign. That can be a sign that a second bacterial pneumonia is coming in on the heels of influenza and that's something that you need to take seriously and get in touch with your health care provider," Dr. Anne Schuchat said.

While the vaccine is slowly hitting doctors' offices and hospitals, manufacturers say they won't be able to provide the 40-million doses they'd anticipated having by the end of the month.

Instead, we might see 28- to 30-million doses.

Although nearly all of the confirmed flu cases so far have turned out to be the H1N1 strain, the seasonal flu could also hit this season.

So far, 82-million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine have been distributed.

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