15 adults dead from "record flu season" in Monroe County

The number of people who have died from the flu in Monroe County now stands at 15.

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The number of people who have died from the flu in Monroe County now stands at 15.

All 15 of the people who died were adults. This data comes from the Monroe County Department of Health as of March 24.

Monroe County Senior Public Health Educator John Ricci said this is a record flu season.

The Monroe County Health Department says we’ve now seen more than 6,000 cases of flu. Of the 6,194 confirmed cases, 4,210 are flu A, and 1,981 are flu B. Three cases are both A and B. 1,093 cases have been hospitalized.

“I don’t recall ever having 6,000 cases in one year,” Ricci said. Usually the number of cases fluctuates between 3,000 and 5,000. Ten people died of the flu in 2017.

This time of year, doctors usually see influenza B. But in recent weeks, there’s been a resurgence of both A and B strains.

Lisa Ellis-Northrup and her three children all got vaccinated, but they all still got the flu.

“I was in the hospital in January,” said Ellis-Northup. “My daughter was in the hospital in January. My oldest daughter was in March 4th.”

Still, she says they're happy they got the shots.

Tuesday at English Road Pediatrics, there is just one flu shot left. But flu season is not over.

“Community-wide, there has been an uptick in flu,” said pediatrician Megan Lasaponara.

Now into April, Dr. Lasaponara says there are new cases of flu every day. “It seems like, potentially, one of the strains mutated. Of that, there was a little bit of a problem with one of the strains in the vaccines doing a good job covering that strain of flu,” Dr. Lasaponara explained.

She says parents are frustrated. “Part of it is you just don’t want to see your kids sick,” she added.

Caitlin Hilbert and her son both got flu shots. “In our neighborhood, the flu went around pretty bad,” said Hilbert. “It is definitely alarming. I still obviously plan on vaccinating my children every year just to be safe, but it’s very scary as a parent. You can’t prevent it all the time. You can only hand sanitize so much.”

Ellis-Northrup is cautious after a tough flu season. “Nobody comes into my house sick," she said. "Hand sanitizer, hand washing. Masks when they go out. They wipe the carts off.”

Doctors say, at this rate, we could see flu into May.

The 15 individuals who died this season have been ages 50 or older. Under federal law, the number of people diagnosed with the flu who also received flu shots cannot be disclosed. Vaccination records fall under HIPPA.

The influenza data can be seen in its entirety here. The CDC Emerging Infections Program at the Center for Community Health and Prevention compiles the data.

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