“Widespread” flu continues to plague Connecticut residents, who are battling an aggressive strain of the influenza virus that has affected nearly 10 percent of all residents, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
National influenza activity continues to be high and remains widespread throughout the country, with 6.3 percent of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like illness, the highest percentage since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
In Connecticut, health officials said that statewide emergency visits attributed to “fever or flu” at 9.7 percent, well above the average of 5 percent in normal years, with officials attributing the spike to an early peak in flu season.
According to health officials, a total of 824 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza were admitted to state hospitals between Aug. 27 last year and Jan. 20. A total of 1,911 influenza positive laboratory tests have also been reported this season. As of Jan. 20, there were 32 reported deaths in Connecticut that were deemed flu-related.
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.
According to the CDC, the flu results in 31.4 million outpatient visits and 200,000 hospitalizations across the country annually. While flu seasons are unpredictable and can vary in severity each year, there are between 3,000 and 49,000 influenza deaths nationwide. This causes an estimated annual $87 billion total economic burden to U.S. businesses.
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