Flu cases spike in both Chautauqua and Erie counties

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Western New York is in the middle of a flu outbreak and in both Chautauqua and Erie County there has been a spike in cases.

Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said, “We haven’t seen these numbers this early in the season for several years.”

Dr. Burstein says there’s a big reason why; this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t completely match the strain of Influenza A that is circulating. Doctors are finding that even people who got the shot are getting the flu.

Buffalo General Chief Medical Officer Dr. Colin McMahon said, “We do have partial immunity but it’s not stopping the spread of the disease.” But, Dr. McMahon says it’s still a good idea to get the shot.

He explained, “We usually get two outbreaks one in mid-winter right about now and we’ll probably see another outbreak in March so even though the flu vaccine may not be 100% effective it’s still worthwhile. If you haven’t gotten it yet, we have a second outbreak coming, it’s worthwhile to get it.”

Despite the increase in flu cases, Tamiflu and Relenza, the two drugs used to treat it, are reportedly still in good supply.

Dr. Burstein said, “In areas of the country there have been reports of sporadic shortages however we’ve learned from the manufacturer that they have good supplies. They’re cranking it out so pharmacies should be able to get a hold of it.”

Just like the vaccine, however, it’s not a magic fix. It works best when taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms and it only works in combating Influenza A.

“The 24-hour, 48-hour bug, that’s not Influenza A. It’s a knock-down, in bed 5 – 7, maybe 10 days, praying for God to take your life kind of sick. It’s a miserable, miserable thing to have,” warned Dr. McMahon.

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s