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First flu death in Connecticut

Robert Givens, or Milford, gets his annual flu shot from Milford Health Department nurse Kathy Malski, RN at the Milford…

The state Department of Health has reported the first flu death in Connecticut this season. And though experts said this is not necessarily a harbinger of a nastier than usual flu season, they say it should drive home the message that the flu is dangerous, and people should get vaccinatedess.

“Sometimes people do not take the flu seriously, but it’s deadly, “said Dr. Zane Saul, chief of infectious disease at Bridgeport Hospital.

According to the health department, the person who died was older than 65. No other details about the individual were released.

The Department of Public Health reported that between Aug . 26 and Oct. 13, 22 people in the state were hospitalized with the flu, and 41 tested positive for the contagious respiratory disease. Cases of the flu are still classified as sporadic in the state, meaning that small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak have been reported.

Local hospitals said they have only seen a handful of cases so far, but expect that rate to pick up soon. At Bridgeport Hospital, Saul said he was not aware of anyone being hospitalized there with flu, but that several people had come in with symptoms.

Though Saul said that October, “is a little early for a death,” it does not It seems that flu activity is anywhere near its peak in the state. And he said that one early death does not mean the state is in for a particularly bad flu season.

Dr. Goran Miljkovic, infectious disease specialist at Bridgeport Hospital, said adults 65 and older are particularly vulnerable to the flu, along with young children, and those with compromised immune systems.

He also said that a single early death does not necessarily cast

Influenza facts

Here are some facts about influenza activity in Connecticut, from the Connecticut Department.

“Even one case of flu can lead to a death,” Miljkovic said. of Public Health.

A total of 41 people tested positive for the flu between Aug. 26 and Oct. 13

Of those, 15 patients were from New Haven County, 13 were from Hartford County, six were from Fairfield County, four were from Litchfield County and three were from Windham County

A total of 22 people in state were hospitalized with lab-confirmed flu between Aug. 26 and Oct. 13

Of those hospitalized, 15 were associated with Type A (subtype unspecified) influenza; four were associated with influenza A (H3N2) and three with influenza B.

There has been one flu-related death in Connecticut so far this season.

However, the state is coming off a particularly bad flu season. Last season, there were 154 deaths from the illness in Connecticut – including those of at least three children.

Nationwide, more than 80,000 people died from flu last year.

At least part of the reason the last flu season was so difficult. was that the flu vaccine was not as effective as many had hoped. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last season’s flu vaccine was on average 36 percent effective in preventing influenza infections.

In September, Congress approved $ 140 million in new federal funding towards a universal influenza vaccine. Dit is op de top van een $ 40 miljoen toename in federale financiering voor de ontwikkeling van een universele griep vaccine beveiligd eerder dit jaar. On Monday, U.S. Late. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, was at Hartford Hospital to announce he is helping to push legislation that would provide $ 1 billion in new flu research investment over the next five years.

Meanwhile, doctors said that when the flu shot isn ‘ t a perfect match for the strains of influenza circulating in an area, it does offer some protection.

“Influenza is a disease that can cause pneumonia and death,” said Dr. Michael Parry, director of infectious disease at Stamford Hospital. “That’s why we are so aggressive about getting people vaccinated.”

Staff writer Jim Shay contributed to this report.

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