The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to show the number of flu-related deaths for children has climbed by two, bringing to 20 the number of children the flu has killed since the outbreak started.
Numerous adults have died, as well, but the CDC doesn’t keep track of the number of adult victims.
The CDC will release its flu advisory report Friday, but there are mixed accounts about the spread of the virus and one federal official is warning of a classic flu epidemic.
The flu’s spread seems to be slowing down in parts of five states in the South and Southeast, a federal official told CNN
More than 40 states are reporting widespread flu activity, with high-levels of flu reported in 24 states. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said the numbers are still climbing.
"Remember, once it peaks, you still have a considerable amount of time where there is a lot of flu activity, and right now it may have peaked in some places, but for the most part, it has not yet peaked," Fauci said.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency in the city Wednesday because of the flu, and Massachusetts is one of the states reporting high-level activity. About 700 confirmed influenza cases have been reported among Boston residents, 10 times more than were seen all last flu season. There have also been 18 flu-related deaths reported, mostly in older patients.
Free vaccination clinics are being offered in Boston this weekend, and Menino is urging people to stay home from work or school if they are sick.
At Massachusetts General Hospital alone, 532 cases of flu have been reported, more than the Boston facility saw in any of the three previous flu seasons, said spokeswoman Kristen Stanton.
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