Flu Virus Lingers...in a Milder Form

Apr 15, 2014

Just when Central New Yorkers thought winter was over, it appears the flu season is also sticking around.  It's almost a repeat of last year – where one virus predominates the season, peters out and another strain replaces it, say Onondaga County health officials.  

Interim County Health Commissioner Michelle Mignano, left, and County Medical Director Quoc Nguyen.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
 County Medical Director Quoc Nguyen says the H1N1 virus has faded, but influenza type B has been trending up during the past week. 

"The B tends to affect more the older age group, just like other flu years.  And it seems like B may be a bit milder, but we cannot tell that," Nguyen said.  "But we know for sure that H1N1 was very serious, but we've already past the peak for H1N1."  

   Thirty three of the 56 reported cases are type B, but officials know the numbers are far higher since not everyone with the flu is being tested.  In addition, most people tend to stay home and treat themselves rather than go to the doctor.   Nguyen says this year’s vaccine covers all types of flu, so it’s not too late to get immunized.   He adds there have been no local hospitalizations related to Flu B, unlike New York City.  Officials say the old advice still holds true to avoid spreading the virus; maintain good hand hygiene and stay home if you're sick.