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 May 10, 2005
Health officials say flu now widespread in state
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. Flu season is now well-established in Rhode Island.

Health officials say this week, flu cases here crossed the threshold from a so-called "regional" epidemic -- with cases in two counties -- to a "widespread" one.

Rhode Island has also had one institutional outbreak of flu. According to The Providence Journal, health officials aren't saying where the outbreak occurred three weeks ago, but said they did send a nurse to vaccinate the staff there.

Some 218-thousand doses of flu vaccine have been distributed around the state, and vaccine clinics are scheduled through the month.

Although as many as ten (m) million vaccine doses may go unused nationwide, in Rhode Island officials expect all the vaccine to be used.

The current surplus of vaccine nationally comes on the heels of a shortage that made vaccine scarce in the later months of last year and brought restrictions on who could be vaccinated.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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