While states like California and North Carolina have seen a significant number of flu-related deaths this season, US health officials said Friday that the nationwide effects of influenza are milder than last winter.

In California, the Fresno district has experienced six flu deaths since October, Fresno reported on Friday, while the Los Angeles Times lost a total of 42 across the state.

In North Carolina, state health officials said six people died of the flu last week. The death toll for the season has been increased to 16. In Maine so far three people have died from the flu contraception.

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The Arkansas Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that a total of 11 people died from the flu.

This year's strain is Influenza A H1N1, which officials said had less severe symptoms than the prevalent strain that was released last season.

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The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have so far failed to estimate the total number of deaths this season, partly because it is so early. Flu usually sets off after Christmas and peaks around February.

In Indiana, four people have died of the flu so far this season, according to the state health department.

A three-year-old girl died of influenza in a suburb of Chicago on December 22, which is the first death of children flu this season.

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Flu symptoms include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and fatigue.

Public health experts say flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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