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Friday, December 31, 2010 - 4:58am

Widespread Flu In Ga., 4 Other States

Georgia is among four southern states -- and five nationwide -- showing widespread outbreaks of the flu. But officials say so far, this season’s vaccine is matching current flu strains.

That conclusion comes from the Centers for Disease Control, which tested more than 100 virus samples. Georgia health officials say because of that, getting a vaccination can definitely help for this flu season.

The CDC says only two weeks ago, there were no reports of widespread flu -- but that’s jumped to five states now. Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and New York have joined Georgia in that group.

Dr. Melissa Tobin Deangelo with the Georgia Division of Public Health says reports of flu this widespread in December is a bit unusual. However,

“It’s hard to compare. Every flu season is different. We often do peak in February, and it would be very difficult to compare with last year of course, because of the pandemic.”

In 2009, the swine flu outbreak boosted numbers of those hospitalized or worse.

Deangelo says there have been five deaths in Georgia since this flu season began in October.