Montefiore in the News
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Montefiore in the News

January 18, 2020

The flu has knocked New York to its knees.

Cases started to rise after Christmas and haven’t slowed down with 11,051 reported statewide in the week ending Jan. 11, new state Health Department numbers show. There

were only 3,858 reported cases during the same week a year ago.

“Usually we don’t see this very steep rise in cases until a couple of weeks later,” said Dr. Theresa Madaline, an epidemiologist for the Montefiore Health System.

The state’s weekly case count included 6,219 in New York City. There were 10 outbreaks at city nursing homes. The CityMD urgent care centers have seen a 33 percent increase in flu cases this month compared to the same time last year, said Dr. Frank Illuzzi, CityMD’s chief medical officer.

“I think we’re still early on in the flu season here,” Illuzzi said. “I’m anticipating an increased number of flu cases coming in over the coming days and weeks.”

He said patients with the flu can take an anti viral medication and then should stay home. “They need rest. They need fluids,” he said. “They need not to infect other people.”

Florian Krammer, a professor of microbiology at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said the season was also “unusual” because there was more B strain of flu circulating than is typical. “Influenza B causes more infection in children,” he said. “It’s also known to cause, in some cases, pretty severe infection in children.”

He said this year’s vaccine was about 60 percent effective against the B strain. “That might also contribute to the number of infections and the severity of infections,” he said. Three children have died from the flu in the state, but none in the city, officials said. “It’s not too late for people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Jane Zucker of the city Health Department, urging New Yorkers to check with their health care providers or the city’s  health map for vaccination sites.