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Deadly flu strain on the rise in Utah, 13 children dead

6-year-old Allison Eagle Speaker died December 1 from the flu. (KUTV)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - The flu is on the rise in much of the country including Utah.

The Centers for Disease Control says the number of children who have died because of the flu has hit double digits.

Nineteen states are showing high levels of flu activity compared with nine states last week, and 13 children have died from the flu this season.

Children are particularly vulnerable to H1N1, this year's predominant flu strain.

6-year-old Allison Eagle Speaker died December 1 from the flu.

Her mother wants other parents to be watchful when their children have the flu.

Allison died less than 48 hours after first becoming ill.

"This illness hit her really hard and really fast. For it to just take her life, nothing prepares you for how fast it moves," Allison's mother Crystal White Shield said.

While Allison had mild asthma, about half of children who die from the flu are otherwise healthy according to the CDC.

80 percent of the children who died last year had not received a flu shot.

With months of flu season still to go it's not too late for children or adults to get vaccinated.

The CDC says the flu season began in October and runs through May.

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