Officials say the flu is ‘prevalent’ in New York

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FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years. An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there’s a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials have declared that the flu is “prevalent” in the state.

This declaration initiates a state regulation that will require healthcare professionals who are not vaccinated for influenza to wear masks in areas where patients are present.

“Getting vaccinated remains the best way for all New Yorkers to protect against the flu, and it is vital for caregivers who come in contact with patients to get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu,” State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said.

As of Nov. 30 there have been 3,158 laboratory-confirmed cases, 691 hospitalizations and one child death, according to the state Department of Health.

Heath officials recommend that anyone older than six-months should be vaccinated, particularly the elderly and children younger than 2 years old.

Vaccines change each year based on predictions on what strains of the virus will be prevalent, according to Times Union.

Health officials recommend getting vaccinated regardless of efficacy as it will still make the illness milder.

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