Flu cases decline but outbreak remains dangerous
NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - This winter's flu outbreak is the country's most intense in nearly a decade, but it appears we're approaching the light at the end of the tunnel.
"Influenza, this week, the activity is definitely going down," said Dr. Dan Jernigan, the director of the CDC Influenza Division.
Health officials announced Friday that the number of people going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms has continued to decline. Deaths from the flu and pneumonia are going down, too. While the peak may have passed, health officials warn the season isn't over yet.
"The levels that we're seeing are still at levels that are above or right at what we had at the peak of some of the recent past seasons," Dr. Jernigan said.
The CDC reported that 17 more children died from flu-related illnesses; 114 children have died this season compared to 101 last season.
"The highest number of hospitalizations were in those over age 65," Dr. Jernigan said. "And for those individuals, we still have a fair amount of the season to go, and so if they are getting sick, because the season has peaked, does not mean that they don't have influenza."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases has decreased.
"Our comprehensive efforts to get New Yorkers vaccinated have greatly decreased the number of cases, but we still encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated and take necessary steps to continue to stop the spread of this virus," Cuomo said in a statement.
Flu season starts around October and can run as late as May, according to the CDC, which advises you to get your flu shot as long as the flu is circulating.