NY state health commissioner calls for vaccine adherence amid flu prevalence

The New York State Health Commissioner on Wednesday declared influenza to be prevalent in the state.

Thus far, the flu season has produced 658 flu-related hospitalizations in the state, with cases reported in 39 counties and all five Burroughs of New York City. No pediatric flu deaths have been reported. There have been a total of 17 pediatric flu deaths reported in the state over the last three flu seasons.

"Now that flu is officially prevalent in New York, we need to step up our defenses against this potentially life threatening illness," said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD. "Getting a flu vaccine is still the best way to stay healthy during flu season. I encourage all New Yorkers, but especially healthcare workers, to get a vaccine if they have not done so yet. Those who choose not to get vaccinated will be required by public health law to wear a mask whenever they are near patients."

Despite low rates of adherence, flu shots prevented an estimated 5 million illnesses and more than 70,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. last year, according to the CDC.

As of early November, only two in five individuals in the U.S. had received a flu shot this year. The numbers are comparable to those compiled for the 2015 season.

More articles on infection control: 
King County, Wash., sees more than 100 cases of the mumps in recent outbreak 
Bird flu transmitted from cat to human for first time 
Flu activity on the rise in the US, CDC says: 6 thing to know

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