The New York State Health Department released the latest data on the influenza epidemic in the state on Jan. 17. As of Jan. 12, week 2 of 2013, New York labs had confirmed 23,501 cases of influenza in the state. This is the second highest total to be reported in the last decade, exceeded only by the flu season of 2009-2010 when the state experienced pandemic influenza. In that flu season, 25,082 cases were laboratory confirmed.
The state recorded another pediatric death from influenza in week 2. Three children have died from the flu this season. At least 32 pediatric deaths have been reported nationally on state and local health department websites.
Since the 2012-2013 flu season began on Oct. 1, 23,501 patients have tested positive for influenza. In the last week, labs found 4,374 new cases. This information includes New York City.
Patients over age 65 represent 21 percent of that total while children age 4 and under account for another 17 percent. Both age groups are at the greatest risk from an influenza infection or complications from the infection. The report shows an additional 78 outbreaks of influenza in health care facilities during the week, for a seasonal total of 298 outbreaks in acute care and long term care facilities.
New York City has not yet posted numerical data on its website for this time period. A graph posted on their site suggests that visits to emergency departments for influenza-like illnesses (ILI) remained very near seasonal highs in week 2. The greatest number of visits for an ILI is from patients age 4 and under followed by patients ages 5 to 17.