New flu cases in North Country and New York State down, but vigilance still recommended
The number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases has decreased, said a recent press release from the governor’s office.
Last week, 13,703 laboratory confirmed influenza cases were reported to the New York State Department of Health and the number of weekly hospitalizations decreased for the third consecutive week since influenza was declared prevalent in December, with 1,702 New Yorkers hospitalized for lab confirmed influenza.For the last 12 weeks, influenza has been geographically widespread across New York, the press release said. As of Feb. 24, 101,312 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza have been reported and 18,282 people have been hospitalized with influenza in the state this season.
There have been five pediatric influenza-associated deaths this flu season. 16,704 children under the age of five have been diagnosed with lab confirmed influenza and 1,224 have been hospitalized.
During last year's flu season, there were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations and 8 pediatric deaths in New York. Over the previous four years, there were a total of 25 pediatric flu deaths in New York State and an average of 10,571 flu-related hospitalizations a year.
"While the decrease we are seeing in both the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases and hospitalizations is encouraging news, New Yorkers must continue to be vigilant . . . I encourage anyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated to take advantage of these opportunities: it's not too late. And I am again reminding all New Yorkers to practice good hand hygiene and stay home if they are sick," said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
In addition to getting a flu shot and staying home when sick, it's essential to practice good hand-hygiene:
· Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water.
· Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.
· Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.
· Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. People with the flu are infectious for up to 7 days after symptoms begin.
For more information about the flu, visit: www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal.