December 27, 2017

Report: Still time for vaccine as CT flu surges

Influenza (flu) activity has rapidly increased this month and has contributed to the deaths of three people in Connecticut over age 65 this season, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) reported in its latest flu statistics on Friday.

As of Dec.16, 355 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza had been reported in Connecticut, 100 more than the previous week, and 144 Connecticut patients had been hospitalized with confirmed cases of influenza. The most prevalent strain of influenza in Connecticut so far this season is Influenza A (H3N2), which typically causes more severe illness than other flu strains.

The increase in flu activity and deaths is not unusual for this time of year, but DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino strongly urged people who have not yet had a flu shot to get one.

"While we don't yet know how effective this year's vaccine will be, we do know that the flu shot will give people more protection against the flu, and at the very least will lessen the symptoms if flu is contracted, than not having the shot at all," Dr. Pino said.

Typical symptoms of the flu include sudden fever, aching muscles, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, headache, and eye pain. While anyone, particularly individuals who are not vaccinated, can contract the flu, the illness is especially dangerous for certain groups, including: people 65 and older; children younger than 2 years old; people of any age with chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or lung disease; and pregnant women.

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