NY Health Department: Influenza prevalent in the state

Flu-triggered respiratory diseases kill 650000 each year – WHO

NY state has the flu.

For additional information about influenza, including how it is monitored in New York State, visit the Department of Health's website.

It requires unvaccinated health care workers in certain facilities to wear surgical or procedure masks during those times when the commissioner declares that influenza is prevalent in NY.

The flu warning comes as 1,820 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have hit 54 out of 62 counties and all boroughs of New York City, state data show. One influenza-associated pediatric death has been reported so far this season in Texas.

State health officials nonetheless recommend New Yorkers get vaccinated if they haven't already.

"But there are other people that can catch the same infection and actually become very sick because their immune system doesn't work properly or they have another health condition that puts them at risk of becoming very ill with viruses bacterial that in an otherwise healthy person would just be a minor illness", she says. Rodriquez said that her own figures show the flu a year ago doubled its numbers around Jan 22. Influenza season occurs primarily from October through May, often peaking in February.

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In fact, for the week that ended December 2 - the most recent data available - there were 92 flu-related hospitalizations, up significantly from the 19 reported during the same week a year ago.

Zucker described influenza as a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death. For the same time frame last flu season, there were 42 lab-confirmed cases statewide and also 15 hospitalizations. Reports say that this year's vaccine is only 10% effective. Individuals and families without health insurance should check with their county health department to find out if local clinics will be held to provide free or low-priced vaccinations.

In another recent study published in the same journal, researchers in Japan found that pregnant women who receive the flu shot during pregnancy, and postpartum women who are vaccinated while their infants are too young to receive a flu shot, impart a good amount of flu protection on to their babies.

People with preexisting conditions such as asthma and heart disease are also at greater risk as are individuals with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications such as chemotherapy or chronic steroid use, public health officials said.

"Estimates of influenza-associated mortality are important for national and worldwide decision making on public health priorities", the report said.

As many as 646,000 people may die from influenza each year worldwide, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - a larger number than what other health experts have predicted in years past.

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