Flu is Widespread Late in Season

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2012

Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON - Better late than never is a catchphrase that does not apply to influenza.

The Vermont Department of Health is reporting widespread flu activity late in the flu season, including confirmed cases and outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Lamoille, Rutland, Windsor and Chittenden Counties.

“Flu is unpredictable and while this is unusual and the season has been relatively mild so far, we are not the only state that is seeing an upswing in flu cases,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Susan Schoenfeld. “During previous late seasons, activity has continued into May.”

The Health Department issued a health advisory on Wednesday advising health care providers to give antiviral treatment to long-term care residents who have confirmed or suspected influenza.

Older people, young children, pregnant women, and anyone with serious chronic illness such as heart disease are particularly vulnerable to serious complications from the flu.

“Newly admitted residents, health care workers and visitors can introduce flu into a long-term care facility.” Schoenfeld said, “Caring may mean not visiting. If you are ill, stay home. Flu is highly contagious.”

Getting vaccinated is always the best protection against the flu.  Vaccine may still be available at health care provider offices. Take the following simple precautions to help keep illness from spreading:

The Health Department Laboratory has identified a mix of influenza A/H3, 2009 A/H1, and influenza B from specimens submitted during this flu season.

For more information visit healthvermont.gov.  Follow the Health Department on Twitter and join us on Facebook for health news, information and alerts.

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