Kris Magnussen, RN, administers the flu vaccine to Alexander Dyjak, 4, as his mother, Ellen, holds him during a vaccination clinic at Ledge Light Health District in New London, Conn., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. The Department of Public Health says there's been a sharp increase in flu cases across Connecticut in recent weeks. The agency announced Thursday that 1,676 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have been reported in the state so far this season. (AP Photo/The Day, Sean D. Elliot) MANDATORY CREDIT
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Health officials say flu is more widespread across the nation, but the number of hard-hit states has declined.
Flu season started early this winter, and includes a strain that tends to make people sicker.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before. But many cases may be mild. The only states without widespread flu are California, Mississippi and Hawaii.
The hardest hit states dropped to 24 from 29.
So far, 20 children have died from the flu. There is no running tally of adult deaths, but the CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.
Experts say it's too early to say if this is a bad year.