U.S. flu outbreak reaches epidemic status

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WFAA

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Now being called a national epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control, the influenza outbreak is claiming more lives in North Texas, and forcing one hospital to make changes.

As of Saturday, Dallas County reported 35 flu-related deaths; there have been five in Tarrant County, four each in Denton and Collin counties, and one each in Wise and Hunt counties.

North Texas doctors are in overdrive treating patients. Six John Peter Smith Health Center clinics in Tarrant County stayed open late Saturday night accepting walk-ins. There are also extended hours on Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

The flu is now widespread in 40 states. In the past week alone, 10 children have died, some just days after coming down with the virus.

Starting next week, all Indianapolis-area hospitals will ban visitors with flu-like symptoms.

"The biggest thing is not to go out and infect other people," said emergency medicine specialist Dr. Emily McIsaac.

Flu season continues through April, so health officials continue to urge everyone to get a flu shot.

It takes two weeks for full protection, but doctors say your immunity starts to kick in almost immediately.

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