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Connecticut sees the first flu death of the season; Officials urge people to get vaccinated

With the first reported flu death in Connecticut this season, officials allowed Monday to invite residents to receive the vaccine…

With the first reported flu death in Connecticut this season, officials allowed Monday to invite residents to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.

The state’s public health department reported death on Friday, officials said. The patient was over 65 years old – a population more susceptible to the intense symptoms of the flu.

“It’s time now. The influenza season is right now,” said American Richard Blumenthal at a press conference on Monday. The 72-year-old senator got his flu shot last week.

Efforts to get vaccinated persons have increased in recent weeks when the flu becomes more common. Officials said that the season started at the end of August and could pick up in the next few weeks, which is typical for most years.

Dr. Jack Ross, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Hartford Hospital, said that a good rule of thumb for many is to bind your flu’s shooting date with the election. Since it takes about two weeks to be effective, people will be ready for Thanksgiving holidays, a time when the flu spreads.

So far this year, 22 people in Connecticut have been hospitalized. The health department said that influenza activity has increased slowly throughout the state. Ross said there have been several flu patients over the Hartford Healthcare Network this season.

“This is not uncommon. We are always starting to see cases in early September and October. When we really see it, it’s when the kids come home from the college for Thanksgiving,” Ross says.

Ross said people would get vaccinated to further protect the most vulnerable populations and those who can not get vaccinated themselves. “Protect the others,” Ross said in his reason why people would be vaccinated.

Mick Bolduc, an epidemiologist for the state, said last month that it’s never too early to get the shot, which serves as the best protection against the flu

“Last year was not a good match, but people have to come Remember one year when the vaccine is not a good match … it’s still the best protection we have, “Bolduc says.

It’s still too early to predict what kind of flu season so The state can see, officials said. Last season was particularly lethal with more 154 killed by the flu, the highest since the state began to track all the flu deaths among the flu pandemic.

Ross said Hartford Hospital saw twice as many patients with the flu as they normally see – over 910 cases. The last flu season was long, said Ross, with a seven week peak that began in January. The last cases were at the end of May.

Blumenthal said he has demanded increased federal investment in universal influenza vaccine development and is working on legislation to provide $ 1 billion for new research investment over the next five years.

The federal budget has $ 100 million in research for a universal influenza vaccine, but more money needs to be allocated.

“We need a vaccine that is most effective and it requires a universal influenza vaccine,” said Blumenthal. “Currently, the flu vaccines are effective 30 to 60 percent of the time …”

Courant Staff Writer Christine Dempsey contributed to this story.

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