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CDC: Flu Season Waning in U.S.

A brutal flu season looks to be on the wane in the United States, with the latest government data showing that doctor visits are still dropping and less severe strains of the flu are starting to dominate.

But hospitalizations for the flu are still rising, as are pediatric deaths. 

For the fourth week in a row, there was a decrease in the number of doctor visits for flu-like illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

As of March 3, the CDC said, 3.7 percent of patient visits to doctors were for the flu, down from 5 percent of patient visits the week before.

And, as health officials predicted, cases of less severe influenza B infections have now eclipsed cases of more severe influenza A infections.

For the week ending March 3, influenza B infections accounted for 50.1 percent of cases, while influenza A infections accounted for 49.9 percent. For the entire season so far, influenza A strains have been responsible for nearly 73 percent of all cases, the CDC report noted.

But hospitalizations for the flu remained worrisome.

Flu-linked hospitalization rates continued to rise -- from 81.7 per 100,000 people for the week ending Feb. 24, to 86.3 per 100,000 people for the week ending March 3, the CDC data showed.

Pediatric flu deaths are also still increasing, with 119 children now dead from the flu so far this season.

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