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Different Strain of Influenza Causing Illness in Rhode Island; Elderly More at Risk

An influenza strain, different from the flu strain that is most common this season, is causing an increase in the flu in Rhode Island. This latest strain, H3, causes more severe illness and has a greater impact on the elderly.

This year's flu vaccine protects against both these strains of the flu.

"If you haven't been vaccinated yet, it is not too late to get a flu shot," said Director of Health Michael Fine, M.D. "Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but also protects those around you, including senior citizens who are now most vulnerable."

There is still plenty of flu vaccine available throughout Rhode Island. Adults can be vaccinated at doctors' offices or at pharmacies. Children can be vaccinated at doctors' offices.

There have been 2 flu-related deaths and 295 flu-related hospitalizations in Rhode Island thus far this flu season. However, these numbers may rise given that H3 is now in circulation.

For more information, contact the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 03-21-2014

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