updated 12/22/2003 5:38:09 PM ET 2003-12-22T22:38:09

The flu outbreak in hard-hit Colorado has apparently peaked and is beginning to ease, health officials said Monday.

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“It appears that the increase in the number of flu cases peaked during the first week of December,” said Douglas Benevento, executive director of the state health department. “Colorado should continue to register weekly decreases.”

The flu has killed at least 11 children and one adult in Colorado this season. Last year, only two child flu deaths were reported to the state, none were reported the previous year and two were reported in the 2000-01 season.

The total number of flu cases in Colorado had reached 10,707 by Monday — more than the 8,967 cases in the past four flu seasons combined.

The number of new cases increased by 1,528 last week. But that was lower than the 1,579 the previous week and much lower than the 2,913 between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6.

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