HealthBeat Flu Vaccine

Because it takes about 30 days after the shot to develop full flu immunity, doctors recommend getting the vaccination now.

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ATLANTA (AP) — Health officials say the Deep South is among the hardest-hit regions of the nation so far this flu season.

In its latest update on influenza activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta identifies seven states reporting widespread flu activity, and all but one are in the South: Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Virginia.

The other state reporting widespread influenza activity is Massachusetts.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says this year's flu season is likely to be a rough one nationwide.

One reason: More than 90 percent of the influenza specimens tested nationwide are Influenza A (H3N2), and the rates of hospitalization and deaths are typically higher in seasons when H3N2 is the dominant strain.