Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel. Peak flu season came and went, but officials say we’re not out of the woods quite yet. The state still sees a healthy amount of flu-related deaths every week.
WTNH reports that seven more people died from the flu in the past week, bringing the state’s death toll to 119. 98 of those deaths were from those 65 and older. 12 people aged 50-to-64 also died. 5 people between the ages of 25 and 49 perished, 1 between the age of 19 and 24 died, and 3 children under the age of 18 passed away.
In addition, roughly 2,400 people required hospitalization for flu-related symptoms.
Type A continues to be the leading strain this year, affecting 1,416 people who required hospitalization. But other strains of Type A, such as H3N2 infected an additional 465 people while Type A (2009 H1N1) impacted 26. Type B flu infected 505 of those people. 6 of those cases came from an unknown strain.
In addition, the state processed over 8,100 flu-positive tests so far this year.
Fairfield County leads with the most recorded cases at 2,465 reports. New Haven County is a close 2nd with 2,420 cases. However, Hartford remains a distant third with 1,290 reports.
The state DPH also added a decent amount of people this year developed flu-related pneumonia.
Obviously, it goes without saying, 2018 is one of the worst years on record. Officials say only the 2009 “swine flu” pandemic rivals the severity of this year’s flu season.
However, just because the state passed peak-flu season doesn’t mean people will magically stop coming down with the flu. In fact, flu activity remains widespread throughout the state. So, the potential for continued deaths and hospitalizations still remain.
DPH Commissioner Dr. Pino urges residents to remain cautions about influenza:
“We still have a few more weeks of flu activity to get through, and people should continue to take precautions to avoid contracting or spreading the flu, but the worst of the season appears to be behind us.”
On top of that, doctors reported seeing patients coming down with the flu TWICE this year. As awful as it sounds, if you already battled the illness, know it was only one strain. You’re still at risk for coming down with the other one.
Strain A and Strain B both remain volatile.
Nick Bennett, the head of the Infectious Diseases and Immunology Department at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, says:
“Flu A tends to come early and flu B tends to come late. […] We could just call them Fred and Barney and they’re two completely different viruses and Fred comes first and Barney comes second. We call them the flu because they feel the same. They are definitely related viruses, but they’re genetically, very distinct.”
While influenza A cases appear to be dropping off, the B-strain continues to hold steady.
Because of this, Dr. Pino encourages those over the age of 65 or those with kids under 5-years-old to seek the flu shot and to take extra precaution.
Doctors also recommend staying home if you or a child of yours falls ill because influenza is so contagious. Health officials also recommend washing your hands and using sanitary wipes on surfaces before eating on them.
Nationwide, over 40,000 people have died with the death toll expected to surpass 50,000 as flu season just starts to wind down.