Connecticut health officials: Deadly flu season is intensifying

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–  The Connecticut Department of Health says this year’s flu virus is extremely severe among people 65 years or older. Connecticut state Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Cartter said, “These are older people this year who are being hospitalized and because of underlining illnesses and other factors there might be an increase in illnesses this year.” This flu season they’ve seen 15 influenza related deaths and say there will likely be more. Dr. Cartter added, “This particular influenza strain for what ever reason is hitting older folks harder than in other years. Last year for example the flu strain hit children harder. It varies from year to year.”

The flu is also putting stress on hospitals. DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino added, “We are also concerned that we are receiving news from the hospitals about the shortage of beds due to the influx of people with the flu.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people use antiviral medications within 2 days of illness. Another concern there is a spot shortage on antiviral medications, like Tami-flu.

Dr. Cartter added, “Some people even if they have a prescription for an antiviral they may go to the drug store and find that they can’t fill it, get it filled.” The Department of Public Health says you should still get the flu vaccine. Dr. Pino told NEWS8, “The vaccine has not been that great this season, still even when it’s not that great it primes your immune system to respond in a more adequate way when you are vaccinated.”

Earlier Story: Dangerous flu season leaves 5 dead in Connecticut

There have been rumors circulating that this year’s flu vaccine is not effective, but Dr. Pino said that even if the vaccine isn’t as effective, it activates your body’s immune system.

Related: CDC official on why the flu is near-epidemic, peaking early this year 

Fifteen people have already died in our state from the virus, all of them were age 65 or older.

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