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Flu cases picking up speed in New York

Nicole Higgins, physician assistant at Nathan Littauer Hospital

Governor Cuomo says in just the past week, there have been nearly 12-thousand new flu cases statewide, and about 22-hundred people hospitalized for the virus.

Tonight we spoke with a family fighting the flu -- through video chat, just to be safe!

"He's lost 19 pounds since the 12th."

This season, the flu has taken its toll on Suzanne Hale's husband... and her daughter... and her son.

She says her family have been fighting the flu for most of January -- but she's most worried about her 90 year old father who lives with them, and their one year old baby, as the virus is more dangerous in the elderly and infants.

"The baby just stopped with fevers yesterday."

Hale says she's been playing the role of nurse for her family of patients.

"I was doing every four hours round the clock for probably ten days, even though they're adults, they just felt absolutely horrible."

We spoke with a nurse practitioner here at Nathan Littauer Hospital who says this season, they're averaging 10-15 patients a *week presenting flu like symptoms.

"I would say this is probably the year that I've seen the most flu."

Nicole Higgins says that's in part because of the strain of flu that is most prevalent this season.

"Which is the H3N2 strain. That particular strain is more likely to mutate throughout the season, which makes the vaccine a little less effective as we go through the season."

Today Governor Cuomo announced a 50% increase in lab confirmed flu cases and 21% increase in hospitalizations since last week.

He's urging New Yorkers to get their flu shot -- and Higgins says she absolutely agrees.

She says it protects against 4 different strains -- and it's not too late.

"Flu A tends to be a little more prevalent in the beginning of flu season, which is that H3N2, and Flu B tends to be a little more prevalent at the end of flu season, so we still have 2-3 months of flu season left."

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