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Health officials say flu now widespread in Connecticut

The flu is now considered to be widespread in Connecticut, according to health officials.

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Rob Polansky
HARTFORD, CT — The flu is now considered to be widespread in Connecticut, according to health officials.

The Department of Public Health said it received reports of influenza covering at least half of the state.

Connecticut is one of 12 states where flu activity is now widespread, the DPH said in its report, which was released on Thursday.

"I actually do normally get the flu shot. We get them at work, but this year I didn't for no good reason," said Brooke Castillo.

However, doctors said she might want to reconsider, especially with the flu already widespread.

"It is absolutely never too late to get your flu shot," said Dr. Ulysses Wu, chief of infectious diseases at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

The season's first flu-related death was reported last week. The patient was a person over the age of 65.

The DPH said more than 250 people tested positive for the flu as of early December.

Nearly 100 people have been hospitalized for flu and the highest number of cases was in Hartford County.

"We've certainly seen an increase in influenza-like illnesses in the outpatient setting, a slight increase in the ed setting," Wu said. "I think there are fears this can be a worse flu season."

There is a long way to go. Dr. Wu said they typically start to see flu cases diminish toward the end of April.

As for how effective this year's vaccine will be? He says it's still too early to tell, but he says those thinking of getting the vaccine, shouldn't be worried about that myth that you'll get the flu from the flu shot.

"What usually happens is that it takes two to three weeks for the vaccine to take hold, so either they came in with the flu and they got the influenza vaccine, or they got the flu during the time, while they were waiting for the antibodies to respond," Wu said.

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