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> Flu Reported to be Widespread

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Karen Bishop at (607) 274-6616 or Theresa Lyczko at 274-6714

Flu Reported To Be Widespread

(Ithaca, N.Y., February 18, 2014) — The New York State Health Department (NYSDOH) reports that influenza (flu) is widespread in New York State. Widespread is defined as increased or sustained numbers of lab-confirmed cases of influenza reported in at least 31 of 62 counties. Flu was reported in 53 counties including Tompkins, and all 5 boroughs of New York City for the week ending February 8, 2014.

Laboratory confirmed cases however, do not reflect prevalence since not everyone visits a doctor when they have the flu and most diagnoses are made clinically and not through laboratory confirmation.

The predominant circulating type is A(H1) which is contained in this season’s vaccine. It is important to know that influenza continues to affect people in the 18 to 49 year age range the hardest. The speculation is that many people in the age group do not get vaccinated. Another reason is that older adults tend to get annual vaccinations and they have antibodies that protect them against H1 because they were exposed when the strain circulated in the 1990’s. Younger adults did not have that exposure.

The benefit of the vaccine is that it can prevent the flu or lessen the severity of illness and decrease the incidence of complications from the flu such as pneumonia and possible hospitalization.

The Tompkins County Health Department urges everyone (6 months of age and above) to get the flu vaccine. It’s not too late. Call the Health Department at (607) 274-6616 to make an appointment for a flu vaccination.

Remember to wash your hands frequently, cover sneezes and coughs, and stay home if you’re sick to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses including the flu.

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