As the death toll continues to rise nationwide, area residents are being urged by health officials to take action against the flu to protect themselves and the people around them.
Influenza activity has been rampant throughout the country, with more than 60,000 confirmed cases during the season, according to the CDC. In the first week of the year alone, there were 11,718 confirmed cases nationwide, including 20 pediatric deaths.
In New York, during the week ending on Jan. 6, there were 3,942 laboratory-confirmed influenza reports, a 37 percent increase from the previous week, according to the CDC. Of those reports, 364 tested positive for influenza. There was one pediatric death in the state from the flu, the only of the season. A second in the region was reported in New Canaan.
In New Jersey, the Department of Health stated that the influenza activity has been high, with more than 1,300 cases reported. There has also been 18 outbreaks this flu season at long-term care facilities.
In Connecticut, the statewide emergency department reported that hospital visits for "fever or flu syndrome" continue to rise, with a total of 1,015 influenza cases reported. Health officials noted that "the vast majority of hospitalizations are among residents greater than 65 years of age."
Residents in the region reported more than 10 cases of the flu per 100,000 people in the region, among the highest in the country.
Health officials said that all people 6 months and older are recommended to receive an influenza vaccination each year. Depending on vaccine type available the vaccine will protect against either three or four different influenza viruses. Certain people are at "high risk" of serious complications from seasonal influenza. These include people 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
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