Oklahoma school counselor dies amid major spike in flu cases

A school counselor is dead amid a major spike in flu cases across Muskogee County, Oklahoma.

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Muskogee Public Schools said Indian Education Counselor Susan Roberts, 58, died from the flu just over a week ago.

Roberts worked at Cherokee Elementary School and Sadler Arts Academy, and she also worked in other schools in the district, including the high school.

>> Related: Flu virus spread by breathing

So far this year, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 55 hospitalizations from the flu in Muskogee County, compared to just three hospitalizations last year.

The school district said that, on Monday there were 350 students absent, compared to 287 at this time last year.

Some have said that this year's flu epidemic has been the worst in a decade.

Credit: Justin Sullivan

Credit: Justin Sullivan

What is the H3N2 flu and how bad is flu season this year?

This year's influenza season, dubbed "moderately severe" by health care officials, has hit the United States hard, with the number of recorded cases of the disease in parts of the country up more than 500 percent.

Thirteen children have died from the flu since October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with widespread flu activity now being reported in 46 states. California has seen 27 flu deaths this season, and there were 41,000 cases of flu confirmed in the United States as of the week of Dec. 27.

The level of flu could soon be classified at epidemic, Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan, of the CDC, said on ABC's "Good Morning America" this week.

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