Flu season begins with a vengeance

By MITCH WEISSAssociated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Health officials say flu season is early this year - and the Carolinas are feeling the pain.

It's already 1 of the worst flu seasons in a decade, and it's only going to get worse.

The flu season usually hits in January and February. But 14 people already have died in North Carolina, while 13 people have died in South Carolina.

Doctors' offices and emergency rooms in the Carolinas are filled with people suffering from flu-like symptoms, including muscles aches and high fever.

North Carolina Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies says this particular strain - H3N2 - is typically harder on older Americans than other ones.

Other states are in the middle of outbreaks, including Alaska, New York and Mississippi.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.