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05/29/2018

Record Flu Season a Reminder of the Importance of Taking Precautions Against the Flu

Harrisburg, PA – After a record-setting flu season in Pennsylvania, the Wolf Administration wants residents to realize the dangers of the virus. More than 121,300 reported cases occurred this flu season, resulting in 256 deaths.

“The flu is a disease that can leave people sick for days, but can also be serious, and even deadly for vulnerable Pennsylvanians,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Getting an annual flu vaccine remains the most effective way to protect your health and the health of those around you. In addition, it is essential to wash your hands frequently and protect yourself and loved ones from the flu.”

Of the more than 121,300 reported cases during the 2017-2018 flu season, most were influenza type A, specifically the H3N2 strain. There were 50,000 more cases reported than in the previous 2016-2017 flu season.

In Pennsylvania, 256 people died from the flu, the highest recorded number, and 100 more than the 2016-2017 flu season. Six pediatric deaths occurred during the 2017-2018 flu season.

The flu was particularly bad in Pennsylvania during January and February, with nearly 15,000 cases reported in one week in February. For five consecutive weeks, the number of reported cases in each week exceeded 10,000.

Influenza is a contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs and may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Tiredness;
  • Dry cough;
  • Sore throat;
  • Nasal congestion; and
  • Body aches.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each season, ideally in October before the season begins. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.

Additional information on how to stay healthy and prevent the flu and other diseases can be found on the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nate Wardle, 717-783-1787 or RA-DHPressOffice@pa.gov

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