Health officials: 15 deaths, 'high level' of hospitalizations reported from flu

Local health officials said there have been 15 deaths and a high level of hospitalizations related to the flu....

Posted: Jan 14, 2018 7:33 AM
Updated: Jan 14, 2018 7:33 AM

Local health officials said there have been 15 deaths and a high level of hospitalizations related to the flu.

The Department of Public Health said this flu season has been particularly severe among people aged 65 and older.

DPH commissioner Raul Pino and state epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Cartter provided an update during a Friday morning news conference.

"This year's flu virus appears to be affecting older persons especially hard," Pino said. "It is not too late to get a flu shot, and some people who are sick with influenza may need to be treated with an antiviral medication."

The number of deaths in Connecticut increased to 15 from a reported five people earlier this week. The victims were over the age of 65.

They called that number "alarming" because it's so early in the season. The state may be four to six weeks away from seeing a peak. Flu season typically lasts up to 10 weeks.

"So we're not yet in peak season and what we're hearing from hospitals across the state is that they have no extra beds and they are full of patients that have influenza like symptoms," Cartter said.

They said there were 60 deaths last year.

They said all eight counties in the state have seen an increase in flu activity over the past two weeks.

More than 1,015 people have had the flu since the end of August, according to the DPH.

A total of 456 of those cases required hospitalization.

The DPH said there's be a steep increase in the number of hospitalizations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that this year's vaccine is only about 30 percent effective.

It predicts that mid-February will be the peak for the nation.

The DPH said patients should be treated by Tamiflu if they become ill.

It acknowledged that there have been shortages of antiviral medications across the country; however, it said that is not the case in Connecticut.

The DPH urged people to still get the vaccine because it can still help.

The statistics prompted doctors to tell people to take precautions.

See some of the riskiest habits and best preventative measures here.

The news conference happened at the DPH on Capitol Avenue.

Stay with Channel 3 for the latest.

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