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State walks back second flu death

November 11, 2018

State officials are back-tracking on previous reports that two people have died related to the flu this season, saying that one of those cases was not a flu-associated death.

In its weekly flu report, the state Department of Public Health said that a death reported the week ending Oct. 20, in a person aged 50 to 64, “was incorrectly reported as a flu-associated death.” It’s unclear from the report whether the person in question didn’t die, or whether he or she died from something other than the flu.

As of Nov. 3, the most recent date for which the state had numbers, there has been one flu-associated death in the state, in a person older than 65. The new report also states that 80 people tested positive for the flu, up from 60 the previous week. Also, 32 people were hospitalized with the contagious respiratory illness, an increase from the previous week, when 28 had been hospitalized.

Flu activity in the state was also upgraded from sporadic to local, which means outbreaks of influenza or increases in cases of influenza-like illness and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state.

Last season there were 154 flu-associated deaths from the illness in Connecticut — including at least three children. Nationwide, more than 80,000 people died from flu last year.

Some at least partly attributed the rough flu season to the fact that last season’s flu vaccine was, on average, 36 percent effective at preventing flu infections. However, experts maintain that getting the flu shot is the best defense against the illness, even in a season when the vaccine isn’t a perfect match to circulating viruses.

And, in this week’s flu report, the state reminds Connecticut residents that “November is a good time for you and your family to obtain your flu vaccine and take steps to prevent influenza-related illness and hospitalization.”

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