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Flu season

This bar graph from the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows the number of reported flu cases by week since the start of the flu season in September.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said the flu is categorized as widespread as of last week, though overall numbers of flu cases are still well below other flu seasons.

The department reported that between Sept. 30, 2018, and Jan. 5, there were 9,268 cases of the flu across the state, with the flu being present in 66 of 67 counties.

In Cumberland County, there have been 171 flu cases since the start of the flu season, with 161 identified as Type A influenza. Perry County has had 15 cases.

This season, there have been 10 adult flu deaths, with five being from the 65 and older age group. There have been no pediatric deaths associated with the flu so far this season.

The number of cases had steadily risen over the season through the end of December, though the numbers fell slightly last week.

Since 2010, most flu seasons in the state don’t peak until after this week, with the exception of the 2014-15 flu season that peaked in December. Last year’s flu season, that saw the highest number of cases in the eight years, peaked in early February. The department will keep records until May on flu activity.

Health officials urge residents to still get the flu shot, even though the season has started, and the Department of Health is offering free flu shots at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

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Email Naomi Creason at ncreason@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason

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Managing Editor

Managing Editor at The Sentinel.