CDC: Flu costs U.S. businesses nearly $10.5 billion

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The flu has been spreading fiercely across the United States, with 41 states reporting widespread activity.

That will cost employers and businesses big time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said the seasonal flu will cost businesses nearly $10.5 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults, and that number does not include such costs as sick pay, work delays and lost productivity.

The flu season has started earlier, and cases are more severe than last year, health officials said.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu advisory report, which covers the week of December 23 to 29, suggests that 41 states have widespread influenza activity, which was an increase of 31 states from the previous week. The CDC will issue an update on the flu situation Friday.

There have so far been 2,257 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed flu virus, the CDC report said. Among children, there have been 18 deaths reported during this season.

The CDC recommends everyone six months old and older get vaccinated.

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