ATLANTA (AP) — Health officials say the flu is spreading across the nation, with a dozen states now reporting widespread flu cases just ahead of the holiday season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says the following 12 states are reporting widespread cases of the flu: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The Deep South is among the hardest-hit regions, with Louisiana and Mississippi reporting high levels of flu-like illness.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says this year’s flu season is likely to be a rough one nationwide.

One reason is that more than 90 percent of the influenza specimens tested nationwide are Influenza A (H3N2), and the rates of hospitalization and deaths are typically higher in seasons when H3N2 is the dominant strain.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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