More than 6 million already affected by influence, says CDC

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Of Maggie Fox

More than 6 million Americans have already taken influenza in this flu season and as many as 80,000 have ended up in the hospital, federal health officials said today.

For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can provide real-time estimates of the impact of public influence. They show that between 6 and 7 million people have been affected by influenza, 3 million or more have visited doctors because of flu symptoms and between 70,000 and 80,000 have been sick enough to have been hospitalized.

So far, the flu season has not taken off as in the past year, when about 50 million people have contracted the flu and 80,000 have died. It was the worst flu season in the last few decades.

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