A $40 million increase in federal funding for development of a universal flu vaccine was included in the recently approved omnibus spending bill. Total funding for universal flu vaccine development for this fiscal year will now be $100 million.
Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino urged expedited development of a universal flu vaccine following this past year’s deadly flu season.
Flu remains widespread in Connecticut, although for the first time since December, no new flu-associated deaths were reported during the week ending March 31st.
Connecticut lost 131 people, including three children to flu this season alone. Of the remaining deaths, 110 were among patients over the age of 65, 12 were 50-64 years of age, 5 were 25-49 years of age, and 1 was between 19-24 years of age.
Influenza activity is past peak, although an elevated percentage of patients presenting to hospital emergency departments and outpatient providers continues. A total of 2,839 patients were hospitalized with confirmed cases of flu between August 27th and March 31st. A total of 9,495 influenza positive laboratory tests have been reported during this season, including little more than 3,000 in Fairfield County and 335 in Litchfield County.