Health officials say influenza spreading in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Health officials say cases of influenza are spreading across Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said Monday that its hygienic lab has confirmed cases of the flu in every region of the state. The disease has been categorized as "widespread,'" the state's highest level, following weeks of low to moderate levels.

Officials say there have been at least 130 influenza-related hospitalizations, mostly among elderly people. Several flu outbreaks also have been reported in long-term care facilities.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

Doctors are not required to notify Iowa health officials of cases of influenza. State officials rely on a year-round influenza surveillance system to track the disease.

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