NY's top doc: Flu is prevalent around the state

Flu-triggered respiratory diseases kill 650000 each year – WHO

So far this influenza season, health officials say New York has 1,820 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in 54 counties and all boroughs of New York City.

"This is based on the fact that it's the same vaccine essentially that's used in Australia and Australia's flu season is kind of it's at a different time of the year than ours and so what happens there are often times emulated over here", said Dr. Hetal Thakore, Medical Director, Doctors Hospital. In Australia, the government reported most of the known influenza cases were H3N2, and Australian labs diagnosed more than two and a half times more cases of the flu this year (compared to last).

In flu research news, a new paper from researchers in Singapore suggests that flu vaccine effectiveness for some influenza A and influenza B viruses drops within 6 months of vaccination.

Flu infection can create or exacerbate other health factors which are then listed as the cause of death on death certificates, for example cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or related complications, they noted.

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"Nobody wants to be the dreaded spreader, so we should all get vaccinated to protect ourselves and to make our surroundings as flu free as possible", he said. Likewise, the 257 hospitalizations since the recognized start of the flu season mark a significant increase over the 83 to this point a year ago. Those 18 years of age and older may also be able to get their influenza vaccine at a local pharmacy.

"The recommendations are that all of us who are older than 6 months of age, that's everybody watching, should be vaccinated", Dr. Shaffner said.

In another recent study published in the same journal, researchers in Japan found that pregnant women who receive the flu shot during pregnancy, and postpartum women who are vaccinated while their infants are too young to receive a flu shot, impart a good amount of flu protection on to their babies.

And it's not only for your own health, but also for the safety of others.

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"Vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza, and is especially important for healthcare workers", said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

The Ohio Department of Health this week announced that flu activity across the state is increasing.

The prevalence of the flu prompted the face mask rule, which first went into effect during the 2013-14 influenza season.

State regulations allows unvaccinated health care workers to remove their masks when accompanying patients in the community, providing speech therapy services, or communicating with persons who lip read.

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