Influenza activity is continuing to increase in Connecticut and has been classified geographically as “widespread,” according to the Department of Public Health.
Flu season typically starts in the fall and peaks in January or February, according to Flu.gov.
The state uses multiple surveillance systems to monitor circulating flu viruses. Traditionally, influenza was monitored during the 8 month period from October through May; however, the DPH has extended its flu surveillance into a year-round effort. All data are considered
preliminary and updated with available information each week through May; a final report will be available before the start of the next season.
Statewide emergency department visits attributed to the “fever/flu syndrome” are increasing and, for two weeks, have exceeded 5 percent statewide; generally considered the minimum threshold when there is increased influenza-associated ED visits.
The percentage of outpatient visits with influenza-like illness has been generally increasing during the last 15 weeks to a level above 1 percent statewide; generally considered the baseline when there are increased influenza-associated visits in the outpatient setting.
The percentage of unscheduled hospital admissions due to pneumonia has remained at a level above 4 percent statewide during the last six weeks.
A total of 142 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza have been reported. Two influenza-associated deaths in individuals greater than 45 years of age have been reported.
A total of 683 positive influenza reports have been reported for the current season. Influenza was reported in residents of all eight Connecticut counties: Fairfield (239), New Haven (163), Hartford (112), Windham (68), New London (49), Middlesex (19), Tolland (17) and Litchfield (16).
Cases of flu in Connecticut are far behind last year's report, which said by Jan. 19, 2013, there were 3,248 confirmed cases of flu statewide. However, numbers represent only those people who tested positively for the disease and the statistics don’t take into account the additional thousands of flu cases not confirmed through testing.
At this time last year in Middletown, there were 94 cases of flu confirmed. In 2013, the city experienced the worse influenza season in the last 10 years, according to Dr. Joseph Havlicek, Middletown's director of health. It began five weeks earlier than usual.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or one of the alcohol based hand sanitizers. The influenza virus can live for 48 hours on surfaces your hands might contact. Learn all about avoiding infection here.
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