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Unusual flu cases in central New York, state on the rise

Lance McCord


Flu activity in New York is reaching higher levels than in previous years. It's the same case in Onondaga, Oneida, Oswego, and Jefferson counties.

In Oswego County, confirmed flu cases recently increased by 59 percent reaching a level that's more than double the amount from this time last year. Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said it's not just the uptick in flu activity that is concerning public health officials, it's also the type of flu that's being passed around.

"This year, the unusual thing is the flu is dominated by Type B,” Huang said. “Last year, we had only three cases of Type B. This year we have 209 cases."

That's happening across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the last time the majority of flu cases were Type B was 27 years ago. Huang said as a result, a lot of people's immune systems are not as prepared to handle this strain of the flu, especially children who are susceptible to a more severe illness from it. That is one of the many reasons Huang and other health officials are urging people to get their flu shots.

"Still we have two, three months of flu season,” he said. “Usually the flu season ends at May, so it's still not too late to get a vaccine."

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.