The flu season in the USA. UU It is getting worse.

Health officials said last week that the flu was covering the country, but they thought there was a good chance the season was already peaking. But the newer numbers on Friday show that it got even more intense.

"This is a season that has much more steam than we thought," said Dr. Dan Jernigan of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UU

One measure of the season is how many visits to the doctor or hospital are due to high fever, cough, and other symptoms of the flu. Thirty-two states reported high patient traffic last week, compared to 26 the previous week. Overall, it was the week most occupied by flu symptoms in nine years.

Hawaii is the only state that does not have generalized diseases.

This year's flu season started early, and has been fueled by an unpleasant type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other common flu viruses. In New York, state officials say a drastic increase in flu cases hospitalized more than 1,600 last week.

The flu became intense last month in the US UU The last two weekly reports show widespread influenza throughout the continental United States, which is unusual.

In general, flu seasons begin to decrease after so much activity, but "it's hard to predict," Jernigan said.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease, spread by a virus. It can cause a miserable but relatively mild illness in many people, but a more serious illness in others. Young children and the elderly are at greater risk of getting the flu and its complications. In a bad season, there are up to 56,000 deaths related to the flu. In the USA UU., Annual flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months or older.

In Oklahoma and Texas, some school districts canceled classes this week because many students and teachers were sick with flu and other illnesses. In Mississippi, outbreaks of flu have affected more than 100 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, resulting in restricted visits.

© 2018 Associated Press