What to Know
- Flu is widespread across New York this season, with new cases reported in 61 of 62 state counties over the past week
- The first child to die from the flu this season was from downstate New York, health officials say
- The Health Department says getting a flu shot can reduce the severity of the illness and prevent the spread of the virus
The number of influenza cases has risen sharply across New York as the state reported its first child death from the flu this season.
Cases of the flu rose by 37 percent over the past week and new cases were reported in 61 of the state’s 62 counties, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.
The state’s public health laboratory, the Wadsworth Center, confirmed the first child death this season. The Health Department would say little about the case, only confirming that the child was from the downstate region encompassing the New York City metro and Long Island.
As of Jan. 6, there have been 11,280 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu reported and 3,606 people have been hospitalized in the state this season, according to the Health Department.
Last year, eight children died in New York State from influenza. There were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations.
Flu season typically runs from October through May, often peaking in February.
Adults over 65, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women are at the highest risk for serious, even life-threatening, complications. A 2017 study showed the flu vaccine can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from the virus.
For more information about protecting yourself from the flu visit the Health Department website.