Flu cases spike across Connecticut

HARTFORD  -- The number of flu cases in Connecticut jumped significantly in just one week’s time, according to the Department of Public Health.

The DPH released the latest flu statistics Thursday reporting a total of 2,996 confirmed cases of flu for the current flu season, August 27 – January 27, 2018.

That is a jump of roughly 1,000 cases from the previous week.

The DPH said there have been 812 confirmed cases in Fairfield County, 802 in New Haven County, 764 in Hartford County, 202 in Middlesex County, 160 in New London County, 98 in Litchfield County,  84 in Windham County, and 74 in Tolland County.

“This is one of my worst in my 35 years in terms of the number of people who are coming in in a short period of time and the number of employees who are out of work,” Dr. Ellen Neuhaus, Director of Epidemiology for Eastern Connecticut Health Network, said.

She added, “We’ve had bed shortages because of the flu with patients backed up, lots of patients on isolation because of the flu and some of the local nursing homes have had many outbreaks of the flu.”

Dr. Neuhaus said traditionally the flu season peaks with type-A of the virus first followed by a second burst of cases of flu type-B later in the season.

“You can get a second wave of flu if you’ve gotten A the first time you can get B the second time so the vaccine is still very important to protect you,” she said.

She also recommended that if a patient has flu-like symptoms it’s best to call or see your doctor right away, because Tamiflu needs to be started within the first 48 hours.

The DHP said a total of 1,154 patients have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of flu so far this season, up from roughly 824 reported for the season last week.

They also reported Thursday, the number of flu related deaths jumped 20 in just one week.  So far this season, 52 deaths have been attributed to the flu (41 associated with flu A, 11 with flu B).

Of these deaths, 44 were among patients over the age of 65, 4 were 50-64 years of age, 3 was 25-49 years of age, and 1 was between 5-17 years of age.

Nationally there have been reports of shortages of Tamiflu, the drug used to treat the flu.

Andrew DaSilva, the pharmacy manager for the Medicine Shoppe in Rockville told FOX61 they are filling several prescriptions for Tamiflu every day.  He added they’ve had to get creative to keep up with the demand.

“Because of the high demand of Tamiflu, a lot of wholesalers that distribute to the pharmacy are running out of them so even our normal wholesalers that we order from, they’re completely out, so what we had to do is go through a different avenue, through a different supplier to get the generic Tamiflu,” DaSilva said.

He went on to say all Medicine Shoppe locations in the state are stocked with both Tamiflu and the flu vaccine.