(12/14/2012)
The health department says flu is getting a jump on the holiday season.

Schools in Pocahontas County are closed Thursday and Friday because of a flu outbreak.

The flu is widespread in southern Ohio.

Though flu season typically does not hit until January or February, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department director Dr. Rahul Gupta said it may peak in December this year.

Gupta said flu activity is increasing across the Mountain State.

Brandon Merritt, the Kanawha County health department's epidemiologist, said there has been a "definite, sudden jump in cases" in that county.

"We saw about a threefold increase in one week," he said.

Gupta said, "There will probably be a several-fold increase in the next coming weeks. At least on the surface, this looks to be a bad flu year."

The Centers for Disease Control says there have been significant increases in flu activity in the last two weeks.


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