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Medical logo (Tribune illustration / February 8, 2013)

Chicago's flu season most likely peaked by early January, one of the city's top health officials said this morning.

Dr. Julie Morita's statement comes amid a fresh batch of flu-tracking data that shows a general decline in the seasonal virus across the city, state and most parts of the country for the week ending Feb. 2.

Morita, medical director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the city's flu season is "winding down" after an early and active start. But the "risk is still there," she added, pointing out that flu activity is still higher in the city than it was at this point during the past few seasons.

During the week ending Feb. 2, just three people were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms in Chicago, according to the city health department. The number of flu-related hospital visits was the lowest it has been since late November and a fraction of what it was at the flu season's apparent height, which Morita pinned at late December or early January.

Nationally, the virus hovered at epidemic levels — meaning more than 7.4 percent of all deaths were due to flu-like illness — but decreased almost everywhere in the country during the week ending Feb. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

psvitek@tribune.com