The entire continental United States is experiencing widespread flu right now, the first time in the 13 years of the current tracking system that that has happened, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said that this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years. The rate of flu hospitalizations — the number of people hospitalized with flu per 100,000 — nearly doubled last week compared with the previous week. Last week it was 22.7 per 100,000 people; the week before that rate was 13.7. READ MORE

Hospitals Banning Visitors – Influenza cases are raging nationwide, federal authorities say 20 children have died from the flu and 7% of senior deaths last month are blamed on this year’s virulent strain. All of that prompted metro Detroit’s Beaumont hospital chain to take an unusual step Friday afternoon: banning visits from children under 13 until the flu season subsides. “We apologize for the inconvenience,” said a news release from Beaumont Health System, which operates eight major hospitals in southeast Michigan. “All Beaumont Health hospitals are experiencing high volumes of patients with respiratory viral illnesses, predominantly influenza,” the release said. READ MORE