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Influenza is hard at work -- whether Americans pay attention or not

Flu may be making headlines in the United Kingdom, but folks in the U.S. -- almost hysterical at the specter of influenza a couple of seasons ago -- seem more concerned about anything and everything else. That’s not the same thing, however, as saying there’s no flu activity in this country.

The UK’s Health Protection Agency announced earlier this week that flu cases are on the upswing across that portion of Europe. And of course, as has been the case with the predominant H1N1 strain (formerly known as “swine flu” -- it seems so long ago now doesn’t it?), those under age 65 are being stricken more severely.

Meanwhile, cases are increasing in the U.S. too, with the Southeast and portions of the Northeast appearing harder hit than most regions. Here’s a portrait of flu in the U.S., with most states showing sporadic activity.

We’re not suggesting that anyone panic. We’ve had enough of that, and even the CDC acknowledges that rates of seasonal influenza are fairly low.

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But the season is far from over, and it’s safe to say that vaccination rates are not at 100%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these vaccine facts -- the upshot of which is, unsurprisingly: Get the shot. Or the spray. Just get something. You only need one shot -- not two -- this year, after all.

With the nation’s workers and students about to once again rub elbows with germ-carrying colleagues after a few weeks of eating sugar cookies by the fire, it pays to keep an eye on what those busy flu viruses are doing.

Folks in the U.K. are. Of course, they don’t have Brett Favre as a distraction.


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