The flu virus has killed fifteen children from complications so far this season, and the CDC has officially declared the illness an epidemic.

The number of hospitalizations also climbed this week with seniors and kids younger than four accounting for the highest rate of the sickest.

Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

The states with the most reported cases are on the East Coast, South, and along the Gulf Coast, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas. The Midwest is also reporting many cases including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Tennessee reported that six children have died from the virus and reported 442 children with the flu just this month.

Locally, North Dakota is listed on the upper end of the low scale. The counties with the most cases of the virus include Burleigh, Morton, Stark, Ward and Cass reporting more than 50 cases in each county.

North Dakota Department of Health

It seems the virus is peaking earlier than normal. The country doesn't normally see this type of a flu outbreak until late February according to reports from ABC News and Yahoo.

Experts recommend getting your flu shot and washing your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

[SOURCES: CDC and Yahoo]