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Kan. experiencing widespread flu outbreak

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The flu season has hit Kansas hard this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Kansas is one of 41 states designated as having a "widespread" flu outbreak.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser told The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/13lLpR2 ) KDHE uses several methods to track the illness, including monitoring the percentage of patients seeking health care who exhibit influenza-like illness. The typical peak for flu cases is February, and Moser says the rates in Kansas so far are higher and earlier than what Kansas usually reports.

KDHE spokeswoman Barbara Hersh says more than 460 influenza and pneumonia deaths have been reported in Kansas this flu season.

During the 2011-2012 influenza season flu and pneumonia contributed to or directly caused more than 1,300 deaths in Kansas.