An unusual jump in late-winter flu cases has prompted hospitals in the Chicago area to restrict visitors.
The restrictions are meant to protect very ill hospital patients from picking up the flu from visitors, especially children, who are considered to be at highest risk of incubating the flu or being contagious.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says officials statewide are seeing a flu increase.
The Chicago-area flu season usually lasts from October to May and peaks in early January. Health professionals say this year's late-season increase might be due in part to milder temperatures.
The Chicago Tribune reports (http://trib.in/1nnnxu9 ) that Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn banned visitors younger than 18 and any adult visitor with flu-like symptoms.
Hospitals throughout the area have enacted similar restrictions.
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