The uncommonly harsh flu season claimed another seven lives in Connecticut in recent days, but the worst of the outbreak appears to be over, health officials announced Thursday.
As of March 3, according to the latest public health report, a total of 112 Connecticut people had died from the flu in the 2017-18 season, more than in the two previous seasons combined, according to the state public health department.
“Flu activity has apparently peaked in Connecticut but remains high and widespread,” the agency said in its weekly report Thursday.
Despite some improvement in flu statistics, health officials urged the public against complacency.
“While the numbers of hospital and outpatient visits attributed to the flu have decreased over the last several weeks, we still have several more weeks to go in this flu season,” Public Health Commissioner Raul Pino said. ”I continue to urge people to take precautions to prevent contracting or spreading the flu.”
Question: When will flu season end? Answer: influenza-like-illness has peaked and is declining, but some activity will likely continue for several more weeks. During some seasons, significant flu activity has been seen into May. https://t.co/To4m34xyeh pic.twitter.com/uqL0vLMyVb
— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) March 7, 2018
The number of patients showing up at Connecticut emergency rooms has dropped for the fourth week in a row. But 8.8 percent of emergency room visits involved the flu during the week ended March 3, still well above the expected 5 percent average.
Since Aug. 27, 2017, a total of 2,273 patients statewide have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of flu. And 7,733 lab tests documented flu this season.
Of the 112 deaths, 85 were linked to influenza A, and 27 to influenza B.
The elderly were hit hardest. Of the victims, 91 were age 65 or older, 12 were ages 50 to 64, and five were ages 25 to 49. The flu also killed one patient in the 19 to 24 age group, and three children, age 18 or younger.
Connecticut’s flu season has been the deadliest in years. The state public health department reported that deaths associated with the flu totaled 57 in 2012-13, 46 in 2013-14, 48 in 2014-15, 37 in 2015-16 and 65 in 2016-17.
The most recent national statistics show Connecticut is among 45 states where flu is considered widespread this year. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Vermont was the only New England state with a substantially more limited outbreak.