Ohio flu season sees rise in hospitalizations

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Department of Health is reporting a spike in the number of people hospitalized with influenza this year compared to last year.

Department spokeswoman Shannon Libby says it's early to see this much flu activity, with cases typically going up in January or February.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/TDThIC ) that 863 Ohioans have been hospitalized with influenza this season, compared with just 65 by this time last season.

The paper says totals from early October through Dec. 22 included 326 hospitalized across the state during the week of Dec. 16-22.

That compares with just nine hospitalized statewide with the flu during the same week in 2011.

The Ohio Department of Health collects the data from city and county health departments and reports flu hospitalizations weekly.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com