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7 flu deaths in Arkansas so far this season

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 8, 2013 at 12:52 p.m.

— The Arkansas Department of Health says reports of influenza are growing more widespread throughout the state.

The department says the state has recorded seven influenza deaths this season and that reports of infections and hospitalizations are coming in from all regions of the state.

The health department recommends flu shots for people 6 months of age and older.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow said officials expect about 1.5 million Arkansans to get vaccinated against the flu. The state says that on average, the flu shot prevents influenza infections in about 80 percent of people who receive the vaccination.

The health department says this is the worst influenza season since 2009 and that it’s “hit early and hard.”

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