01/10/2014 02:51 EST | Updated 03/12/2014 05:59 EDT

CDC report: US is "in the thick" of flu season, illnesses widespread in 35 states and climbing

ATLANTA - Flu season is ramping up, with illness widespread in at least 35 states. That's up from 25 in the previous week.

A flu expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the agency's weekly report released Friday shows "We're in the thick of flu season."

The CDC's Lyn Finelli says the season likely hasn't peaked, but that it's too soon to know if it will be worse than normal.

The numbers aren't as high so far as last year, when flu season started early. Flu usually peaks in January or February.

The number of people seeking medical care for the flu climbed to more than 4 per cent of all doctor visits last week, a near doubling from two weeks earlier.