A Walgreens employee holds a flu shot clinic on Dec. 19, 2014 in Oakland, California.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
By NBC News
January 5, 2015

The annual influenza outbreak has reached widespread levels in 43 states – up from 36 states a week ago.

New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that six more children have died from flu, including three kids in Tennessee, making for 21 pediatric deaths this flu season.

Flu activity typically waxes and wanes during the coldest months. While the nation reached an epidemic level of flu last week, the portion of weekly flu-and pneumonia-related deaths – 6.8 percent of all deaths – dipped below the epidemic threshold for the first week of January.

Flu generally hits hardest in the very young and the…

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