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Flu Deaths Cross Epidemic Threshold

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The flu now qualifies as an epidemic in the United States, according to a weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though the CDC details a small decrease in reported cases, there have been numerous deaths from this year's outbreak, including 45 people in California.

Deaths linked to pneumonia and influenza crossed the epidemic threshold this week. The occurrence is common mostly every flu season. The percentage of patient visits for flu-related symptoms fell, as did the number of states where high influenza-like illness activity, from 20 to 14.

However, epidemiologists give a different number, saying the number of states experiencing widespread flu activity rose from 35 to 40.

The H1N1 strain, which led to a pandemic in 2009, is the predominant strain in the current season. Adults 65 and older have the highest rate of hospitalization so far, followed by children under 4 and under.

Ten children have died from the flu this week, bringing the toll of pediatric deaths to 20.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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