BEWARE: Flu Picks Up Steam Across The U.S. (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

BEWARE: Flu Picks Up Steam Across The U.S. (VIDEO)

Source: Elizabeth Landau / CNN

The flu has been spreading fiercely across the United States, with more than half of states reporting widespread activity. The season has started earlier, and cases are more severe than last year, health officials say.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu advisory report, which covers the week of December 23 to 29, suggests that 41 states have widespread influenza activity, which was an increase of 31 states from the previous week. The CDC will issue an update on the flu situation Friday.

There have so far been 2,257 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed flu virus, the CDC report said. Among children, there have been 18 deaths reported during this season.

In Massachusetts, one of the 29 states that the CDC has identified as having high activity of influenza-like illness, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency in the city because of the flu.

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