Severe U.S. Flu Season Lingers as Virus Spreads North and WestA severe influenza season is showing few signs of abating in the U.S., as the virus spreads fever, chills and weakness to the northern and western reaches of the country. The annual outbreak, already in its 10th week, has extended beyond the lower bound of a normal flu season and isn’t showing signs of easing, said Lyn Finelli, chief of surveillance and outbreak response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the number of cases in the nation seems to be holding steady based on a quick reading of the charts the agency puts out each week, the visuals can be misleading, she said. “While the flu may have peaked in many areas of the country, there is a surge in other areas,” including New England, the Northeast and the West Coast, Finelli said in a telephone interview. “It’s not plateauing. That’s reflecting declines in some places and increases in others.” The places that may be seeing some respite are those that were hit first, including southeastern states such as Florida; the Midwest including Wisconsin; and south central states like Kentucky. Now, 36 states are experiencing moderate to high flu levels, with 14 seeing low or minimal activity. While the virus typically starts in the Southeast and spreads north and west, it doesn’t always move smoothly and can return. More