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Published December 04, 2012, 01:57 PM

Flu Season Starting Early This Year

Flu season in the U.S. is off to its earliest start in a decade, and it could be a bad one. Health officials say the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than other types and it is particularly hard on the elderly.

Flu season in the U.S. is off to its earliest start in a decade, and it could be a bad one. Health officials say the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than other types and it is particularly hard on the elderly.

An uptick like this usually doesn't happen until after Christmas. Hospitalizations are also rising earlier than usual and there have already been two deaths in children. The last time a flu season started this early was 2003, which proved to be one of the most lethal seasons in the past 35 years, with more than 48,000 deaths. The dominant type of flu back then was the same one seen this year, but clinics and people seem to be prepared with more than a third of Americans already vaccinated.

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