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Flu Cases Increasing Across Region And Nationwide

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Flu season is here. One local doctor is seeing patients at an urgent care center.

"In my last shift, I diagnosed about 10 cases in a single day of Influenza A. And that's just me. At this one site," says Dr. Janette Nesheiwat.

The flu is widespread in Pennsylvania.

The Allegheny General Hospital emergency department started seeing an increased number of flu cases in the last two weeks of December. On Thursday, AGH admitted six people with flu-like symptoms, the highest daily number so far this season.

The St. Clair Hospital ER is treating a very large number of patients for influenza, and the numbers have been trending up since Thanksgiving.

UPMC had 61 inpatients system-wide who tested positive for influenza, compared to 35 last week.

The Allegheny County Health Department is reporting mostly Influenza type A, average age 48, with 62 known hospitalizations and three deaths so far this season.

Nationwide, the CDC says they expect flu activity to keep increasing across the country over the next several weeks.

"This year so far the most common strain of influenza circulating is Influenza A H3N2," says Dr. Nancy Messonnier, of the CDC.

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The strain is known to cause more severe illness, especially in young children and people 65 and older.

Doctors are seeing a rise in flu cases now, but they say the numbers appear to be in line with previous seasons.

The CDC says so far this year's flu shot appears to be well matched to the strains out there.

"Influenza vaccine can protect you against illness, but it also can protect you from hospitalization," Dr. Messonnier adds.

It's not too late to get one.

"It's something that's preventable. And if it's preventable by a little shot, why not do something that could potentially change your life," says Dr. Nesheiwat.

Good handwashing stops the spread of flu, and stay home when you are sick so you don't infect others.

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