Flu outbreak now widespread in 47 states

The annual flu season hit about a month early this year, and illness is now widespread in 47 states. This season’s vaccine is well matched to the circulating strains, and there’s still some available. It is 62 percent effective, according to government study results released Friday, which is pretty good for a flu vaccine.

Concern about the growing number of flu cases has spurred a northern New Jersey hospital to temporarily impose restrictions on who can visit patients. Jersey City Medical Center says anyone exhibiting flulike symptoms and all children will be kept away from patients.

Hospital visits by patients with flu-like symptoms in New Jersey are double the number seen at this time last year. Two children have died, both with underlying medical conditions that made them more vulnerable. Flu activity is highest in central and northeast portions of New Jersey.

On Monday, a New Jersey Assembly committee heard testimony about the impact of the flu outbreak. NJ’s Spotlight’s Andrew Kitchenman covered the hearing. He reports that Dr. Shelley Greenman, an emergency medicine physician at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, told lawmakers that she has never seen anything like the number and range of flu cases that she has encountered this year.

You can listen to more from Andrew Kitchenman in the 6 minute podcast.

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