States reporting the most severe level of flu activity have nearly doubled in the past week. Federal officials said Thursday 24 states, including Mississippi and nearly the entire Western half of the country, are now being hit hard by the illness.
Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia were added to the list Thursday as having widespread flu activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said that the flu season nationally has not yet peaked and it's still not known how long the season will last.
Widespread activity means outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illnesses and lab-confirmed influenza samples in at least half a state.
Last week, only Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming were listed as having widespread activity by the CDC.