Health officials in Connecticut have confirmed the first flu death of the season, adding that the virus has sent another 22 patients to the hospital. The state’s health department did not identify the patient in their announcement, nor did it reveal when the death occurred, but it said flu-related activity has been slowly increasing since the end of August.
The state reported 154 deaths last year due to flu-related illness, making it Connecticut’s deadliest in five years.
“Last year [the vaccine] was not a great match, but people need to remember even in a year when the vaccine is not a great match … it is still the best protection we have,” Mick Bolduc, an epidemiologist for Connecticut, told the Hartford Courant.
Medical professionals across the country have echoed that statement as they look to decrease the amount of virus-related fatalities following last year’s record highs. The flu killed an estimated 80,000 Americans last season, making it the worst in decades.
Florida health officials recently reported their first flu-related pediatric death, adding that the child had been unvaccinated.
“The flu shot is incredibly important because it reduces your risk of contracting the flu,” Michelle Lin, an emergency room doctor, and professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City told Fox News last week. “It also reduces your risk for complications and passing it to other people, especially pregnant women, young children and the elderly.”
The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics urge anyone ages 6 months and older to receive the vaccine before the end of October when flu activity typically experiences an increase.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report