CDC: "Nothing Typical" about 2009 Flu

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Although there has been a minimal drop since last week, 43 states are still reporting widespread H1N1 flu activity and there have been 15 more confirmed H1N1-related deaths, a top official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the chief health officer for H1N1 response with the CDC, said it was impossible to predict how the flu season would play out since there is "nothing typical" about this year's influenza.

Schuchat said there are now up to 171 confirmed H1N1-related deaths in children but cautioned that the actual tally was likely higher. She said two-thirds of the children who have died of H1N1 had underlying health conditions.

"The H1N1 vaccine supply continues to increase. We're not where we want to be, but available vaccine is being quickly ordered and shipped, and we are in better shape today than we were a couple weeks ago," Schuchat said.

She said 94.5 doses of seasonal vaccine had been distributed.

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The CDC also announced it was launching a travel health campaign to highlight four steps people can take to avoid the flu during the holiday season.

"The first step is to travel well. That means travel only when you are well. The second is to wash your hands often. That can be with soap and water or it can be with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The third is to cover your cough and sneeze with tissues or with your sleeve. And the fourth is to get vaccinated against flu - particularly if you're in a targeted population," Schuchat said.