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New York State Department of Health issues advisory in response to elevated flu activity

Americans encouraged to get flu shot as US prepares to battle both flu and COVID-19
Posted at 3:02 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 15:02:21-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — The New York State Department of Health has issued an advisory in response to elevated flu activity across the state.

The following advisory was sent to public and private schools:

"NYSDOH conducts routine influenza surveillance each October through May. Influenza is unpredictable; and while it is not uncommon for influenza activity to extend into late spring, current activity remains elevated and widespread. Therefore, NYSDOH is extending the surveillance season beyond May until influenza activity has decreased.

Surveillance data has shown an unusual bimodal [two peaks in activity] distribution of influenza activity during the 2021-22 season. Following consistent declines during January and low rates in February, laboratory-confirmed influenza cases and hospitalizations have been steadily rising since March with significant increases in lab-confirmed cases occurring throughout April. It is unknown if activity will remain at high levels or continue to increase in the upcoming weeks."

According to the advisory, influenza A(H3) has been the predominant influenza virus circulating this season, accounting for 90% of all NYS influenza cases reported last week.

"Influenza A viruses cause disproportionately more illness among young children and older adults. Since the start of the current influenza season, 100,656 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases and more than 5,600 hospitalizations have been reported, with 59% of all laboratory-confirmed cases occurring in persons aged 0–17 years and 42% of hospitalizations in persons aged 65 and older," a release says.

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The NYSDOH encourages the following preventive measures to reduce the risk of influenza transmission in schools and other settings:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects.
  • All persons aged 6 months and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Influenza vaccine for the 2021-22 season can be given through June 30, 2022.