CDC: Airline reports should prod everyone to get flu shot

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that reports of airline passengers arriving in the U.S. with influenza should prod people to get vaccinated and avoid travel if they become sick this coming flu season.

A dozen passengers on two American Airlines flights arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday with flu-like symptoms, one day after a similar situation on a Delta plane from Dubai to New York.

CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes said three of the passengers from Dubai tested positive for flu and/or a separate respiratory illnesses and one person in Philadelphia tested positive for flu.

The common thread were influenza A cases among Muslim pilgrims returning from the Hajj in Mecca, he said.

The CDC said it hopes the reports compel everyone six months and older to get the seasonal flu shot, preferably by the end of October.

People who do get flu symptoms, such as fever, sore threat and body aches, should “stay home, don’t travel, and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care,” the agency said.

Last year’s flu season was particularly brutal, resulting in 172 child deaths.

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