The New York State Health Department released its latest report on the influenza epidemic in the state on Thursday. It covers the week ending Jan. 26, week four of 2013. More New York residents saw their doctor for influenza-like illnesses (ILI) during the week, stalling the decline of the prior two weeks. The rate of visits for an ILI rose to 5.35 percent from 4.39 percent in week three.
New York State
Outside of New York City, laboratories in New York State have confirmed a total of 31,690 cases of influenza since the flu season began on Oct. 1. The illness has caused the hospitalization of 6,478 patients. Over half of these patients were elderly, age 65 and older. Including the city, hospitals and nursing homes reported an additional 40 outbreaks of the flu for the week, bringing the season's total to 422. Influenza was responsible for the deaths of two more children in the state during the week, and for the deaths of a total of five children for the season.
New York City
New York City reports its influenza data on a different schedule than the state. It does make graphs available early and those for week four of 2013 are posted on the city website. The number of visits per day for an ILI to city emergency departments fell over the week, but took a slight jump on Sunday and Monday. The rate of ILI visits to emergency departments hovered around 20 percent for children under age five and climbed slightly for ages five to 18.
Rochester and Monroe County
The upstate city of Rochester and Monroe County also issue a weekly influenza report , one of just a few New York counties to do so. Their latest report contains data through week three of 2013, last week. The county reported 2,355 confirmed flu cases and, through Jan. 12, 481 hospitalizations due to influenza. There have been nine adult flu deaths in the county from Oct. 1 through Jan. 12. No children have died from an influenza infection in the county this season.
The influenza season has no fixed end date. The season has ended as early as March and as late as May in previous years, according to the federal government. It normally peaks in January and February. The flu epidemic in New York may have peaked but this week's data suggests that residents have several more weeks of high levels of illness before the season ends.