Flu cases in Erie County have steadily increased since mid-January after months of mild activity, mirroring a statewide trend.
Last year’s flu season peaked toward the beginning of January, but the latest statistics indicate cases are currently headed toward a peak for the 2015-2016 season.
“Our surveillance data show that flu activity is currently widespread locally, and may continue to spread before we see the traditional flu season draw to a close. We could also experience another late season peak with Influenza B, as we have in years past,” Dr. Gale Burstein, county health commissioner, said in a statement.
The state Health Department reported 5,122 laboratory-confirmed influenza samples statewide as of the end of the week of March 5, a 32 percent over the previous week. March 5 also marked the fifth consecutive week in the state of “widespread” activity, meaning there were increased or sustained numbers of lab-confirmed flu cases in more than 31 of 62 counties.
Burstein encouraged flu vaccination, saying it was not too late, especially for individuals at high risk for serious flu complications, such as the elderly and those with asthma, diabetes and other chronic conditions.