Early Flu Cases Reported in Connecticut

Early October isn't the normal start to the flu season, but there are flu cases popping up across the United States.  The Center for Disease Control reported cases in seven states, including Connecticut and New York.

"Usually we don't start to see cases until the end of October, so now seeing them as early as October 4, we're going to call it sporadic reports of influenza for this year," said Dr. Harry Conte of St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.

Conte said these early cases don't guarantee a bad flu season for the year, but it may be time to get a flu shot.  The vaccines are usually given in mid-October, and they're most important for certain groups of people.

"All people 50 years of age or older should get influenza vaccine every year," said Conte.  "If you are younger than 50 years old, those people usually have medical problems."

He said others who should get vaccinated include health care providers and people who work with the elderly. 

Flu shot clinics have already started up in Connecticut.  More than one hundred people got vaccinations at a flu clinic in Hartford.

"We provide the vaccine for those over the age of 18.  The median age thus far has been 50 to 70," said Jennifer Ash, a nurse with Hartford Hospital.

Dr. Conte said contrary to what some may think, the flu shot does not give you the flu.  However, he added:  "Some people get a reaction to it.  In other words, maybe get a little fever, maybe feel down and out, kind of like being sick."

The C.D.C. expected this year's vaccine to be very effective.

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