ATLANTA - Health officials are renewing their push for Americans to get swine flu vaccinations following a recent uptick in hospital cases in Georgia.

No other state has had such an increase. Overall swine flu illnesses and deaths have been down for months.

But in the past two weeks, 70 to 80 people in Georgia have been hospitalized with swine flu - the most since September, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Most were unvaccinated adults and many had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible, federal health officials said yesterday. Georgia has one of the lower vaccination rates for swine flu in the country, said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swine flu was first identified last April and it hit the country in two waves - a spring wave, then a larger fall wave. Flu activity has been declining since November, and officials have had to push harder to get people interested in getting some of the tens of millions of unused doses.

"Many Americans are still vulnerable because they haven't gotten vaccinated yet," said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, who joined Schuchat in a teleconference with reporters. - AP

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