Mayville, NY – More than 19,000 cases of influenza have been reported in New York State this season, far more than the total of 4,404 positive laboratory tests that were reported all of last season. To date, two children in New York State have died as a result of this year's seasonal influenza. Earlier this week, a Public Health Emergency for all of New York State was declared in response to this year's increasingly severe flu season.
"To date in Chautauqua County, the Health Department has received reports of 283 cases of influenza but we know that number is very low because only laboratory confirmed cases are reported to local health departments." according to Christine Schuyler, Director of Health & Human Services. "Many health care providers do Influenza rapid testing in their practices and are not obligated to report those cases to local or state health departments and from what we're hearing from local providers, this flu season is proving to be one of the most severe we've seen," adds Schuyler.
Individuals who have flu-like symptoms like a fever, cough, or sore throat, should call their doctor first before heading to the hospital. "Hospitals locally are experiencing the same rush of Influenza-like Illness as those statewide so those with mild symptoms are advised to not go to the emergency room unless your doctor advises you to," said Schuyler.
Schuyler added that last year's flu season (2011-2012) started rather late and was unusually mild with only 32 lab confirmed cases reported in the County. In comparison, 2010-2011 was a more typical season with 337 cases reported.
(release from Chautauqua County Department of Health)