Nine Additional Flu Deaths Reported in Connecticut

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Nine additional flu deaths are reported in Connecticut.

The state Department of Public Health released influenza statistics on Thursday, which said the nine additional-related flu deaths were reported during the week of Feb. 9-15 and all nine were adults.

Flu remains widespread in the state.

There have been 49 flu-related deaths in Connecticut this season. One of the victims was a child. Another is a Waterbury middle school teacher, Harley Gaafar, who taught English as a Second Language at West Side Middle School.

During the week of Feb. 9-15, 204 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported. There have been 1,909 this season.

It is not too late to get a flu shot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the vaccine in the current flu season so far is overall 45 percent effective.

Health experts consider that pretty good and a little above average.

“Ideally, yes it would be 90, 100 percent effective. But it’s very difficult to do with the flu vaccine," said Dr. Kari Edelson, the medical director at PM Pediatrics Urgent Care in West Hartford.

The vaccines are made to protect against several strains of the virus based on predictions of which kinds will make people sick the next winter.

Since the virus can change quickly it can be challenging to develop the vaccine.

Edelson points out the shot, even with its limitations, is better than doing nothing and is really the only thing available to help prevent complications from the flu including death.

And the shot can still be beneficial even if you end up getting the flu.

“The kids that have had the flu shot in general tend to be not as sick and it can shorten the length of the illness. Some kids aren’t as sick as long," Edelson said.

Get key facts about influenza from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website here.

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