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Monroe Co. sees significant drop of flu cases compared to 2015

Flu vaccine administered

Rochester, N.Y. - There have been 154 confirmed cases of influenza in Monroe County so far, according to the Monroe County Health Department.

Senior Public Health Educator John Ricci said those are the cases through February 13. Out of those cases, 34 of the patients have been hospitalized.

No one has died from the illness.

That compares to last year when there were 3,500 confirmed cases of influenza, 900 hospitalizations, and 11 deaths.

That is 20 times more than we are currently seeing in 2016. Local doctors say the milder winter delayed the spread of flu and the flu vaccine is more effective. But they also caution that there are still several weeks before the flu peaks.

Doctors tell 13 WHAM News they are seeing an uptick in flu cases in recent weeks.

Doctor John Treanor is Chief of Infectious Disease at UR Medicine. Treanor said the weather did delay the spread of the flu virus. He said the other big difference this year is that the vaccine is more effective. He said it covers H1N1, the strain of influenza that is out there.

Dr. Mathew Devine, of Highland Family Medicine said he has seen an increase in flu cases in his practice. Jeanette Taylor was in Dr. Devine's office Wednesday complaining of flu symptoms. She had a high fever, cough and trouble breathing.

There are other respiratory viruses out there with some similar symptoms but Dr. Devine said people will know when it's the flu because it includes body aches, fever and

chills.

Jeanette didn't get a flu shot. But may re-think her decision next year. Dr. Devine said most of the people he has diagnosed with the flu were not vaccinated.

Though there haven't been a lot of cases yet, both doctors tell us flu season is ramping up and we can expect to see a wave of the influenza virus. It isn't too late to get a flu shot, but it will take a two weeks to become fully effective.

Earlier this month, the New York State Health Department reported a 42 percent increase in flu cases compared to the previous week. However, the Monroe County Health Department said the number of cases is "nowhere near" the levels compared to the last two years.

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