Flu-related emergency department visits and doctor visits continued to decline last week, but the number of reported flu cases remained above average, according to the latest flu statistics released Feb. 5 by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The flu is still considered to be widespread in Pennsylvania.
Across the state, a total of 1,974 flu cases were reported last week, down from 3,683 the previous week.
In the Lehigh Valley, the number of confirmed flu cases this season is 3,554, from Oct. 2 through Feb. 5:
- 2,320 cases in Lehigh County
- 1,234 cases in Northampton County
No one was reported to have died from flu-related complications in the Lehigh Valley last week, though there were 21 flu-related deaths across the state. That brings to 123 the total number of flu-related deaths this season, including four in Northampton County and three in the Lehigh County. (A state health department spokesman said Wednesdy that one case previously reported as a Lehigh County resident turned out to be a resident of a different county.)
Most of the deaths were among those 65 and older.
Confirmed flu cases statewide now number 30,286.
Lab-confirmed flu cases represent only a fraction of those with the flu, state health officials say, since most people -- including those who seek health care -- are diagnosed without lab testing.
Since flu activity could continue into spring, it is not too late to get a flu shot, the state health department says. To find a place near you to get a flu shot, type your zip code into the Flu Finder site.
Influenza A/H3N2 is the dominant influenza strain circulating in Pennsylvania, the state health department says. That strain generally causes severe illness among older people.
Influenza—more commonly known as "the flu"—is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads via infected people coughing, sneezing or talking, though people can also get infected by touching something with the flu virus on it before touching their mouth, eyes or nose.
Symptoms of the flu include muscle or body aches, headache, cough, sore throat, fatigue, fever or chills, and vomiting and diarrhea (the latter two are more common in kids).
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