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PA Health Officials: Flu Virus A Busy Bug Since Thanksgiving

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(A woman gets a flu shot at a Philadelphia health clinic.  File photo by Hadas Kuznits)

(A woman gets a flu shot at a Philadelphia health clinic. File photo by Hadas Kuznits)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports a higher than normal number of flu cases so far this season.

Pennsylvania Health Department spokeswoman Holli Senior says there’s been a significant increase in flu cases since Thanksgiving and the number of new cases, at this point, is at least double what is typical for a normal flu season.

“Last year, during this same week, we reported 12 cases of influenza,” Senior says, “and we have 448 reported during this week this season.”

As to whether that means this season will be a particularly bad one, Senior says that will depend on when it peaks.

“Which typically happens in January and February,” she says. “If we happen to peak early in January or even to mid-January and then go back down, we may be okay, but it really depends on when we see that peak happening.”

But Senior says the flu bug being seen most often in Pennsylvania this season is type A influenza H3N2, the strain most often linked to severe flu seasons. She says it’s not too late to get a flu shot, the single best way to avoid getting sick with the flu.

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