CDC: Flu outbreak at epidemic levels

Local businesses fight flu outbreak
Published: Jan. 11, 2013 at 11:37 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2013 at 11:38 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Centers for Disease Control say the flu outbreak has reached epidemic levels.

More than seven percent of deaths that occurred around the country the first week of 2013 were caused by pneumonia and the flu. That percentage is what put the flu in the "epidemic" category.

As of Friday, 47 states are reporting widespread flu activity. The only states that aren't - California, Mississippi, and Hawaii.

Economists worry this flu outbreak will slow growth in the economy. Employers stand to lose more than ten billion dollars due lost productivity and the cost of taking care of sick employees.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Carolinas Medical Center says that, locally, we're doing a good job of getting the very young and the very old vaccinated, but that those of us that make up the majority of the workforce tend to skip the shot.

"What I see in my practice are the 20, 30, 40-something's who are healthy, who don't get sick...those folks tend not to want to get the flu vaccine," Shelton says.

At Concentra Urgent Care, employees are calling across the country for more resources.

"We've had to overnight some vaccines in from our Florida location," said Passion Tolson, an operations director with Concentra.

But it's not too late. "The most important thing is to get the flu vaccine and there's still time," Shelton says. "People still need to do that."

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