Although the flu appears to be leveling off in the East, South and Midwest, numbers are still rising in the Southwest and Northwest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
The flu is widespread now in Washington state, said Donn Moyer of the Washington State Department of Health in Olympia.
"We're continuing to see increases in emergency room visits for flu-like illness," Moyer said. "We have now got 17 lab-confirmed, flu-related deaths, up from 12 last week." That's high compared with last year, when only 18 people died during the entire flu season, but low compared with the 2010-2011 flu season when 36 died, he said.
Washington's usual flu peak usually comes in January or February but it could be as late as March this year. "We're in the early range of normal," Moyer said.