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Flu Scare
This year's flu season was believed to be particularly severe, but now it appears that wasn't the case after all.
(ABCNEWS.com)
Health Hype
What Ever Happened to the Flu Scare?

By John McKenzie
ABCNEWS.com

March 3 — Back in early December, emergency rooms were overrun with flu patients, there were long lines for vaccine, and the evening newscasts were running more flu stories than ever.

Even commercials were playing the flu card. One television spot touted orange juice: "Experts are saying it's one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. Which is one of the best reasons to drink Florida Orange Juice."

But now, three months later, the government's senior flu expert offers this stunning assessment:

"When we look back at the flu season, overall, what we see is that it's not particularly severe," Dr. Nancy Cox of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABCNEWS.

For evidence, just compare the last two flu seasons.

Last season, only about 1 percent or 2 percent of people visiting their doctor had flu-like symptoms, and the outbreak peaked at the end of February.

This season hit early and hard, and by the end of December it triggered at least three times the number of doctor visits. It then faded, however, as quickly as it appeared.

The flu is now at levels well below last season.

Continued
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