Modified: January 23, 2015 3:28pm
County Executive, Health Commissioner also Discuss Completion of Dr. Glick’s Ebola Quarantine
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein to emphasize the importance of vaccination in preventing the flu as he received his yearly flu vaccination and recommended that all residents do the same. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. During a regular flu season, about 90% of deaths occur in people 65 years and older; however, each flu season is different and influenza infection affects people differently. In the United States the “flu season” can begin as early as October and last through May.
“Getting a flu shot is important not only to keep yourself healthy, but also to protect the people around you,” said Poloncarz. “By getting immunized, you are keeping yourself healthier and not spreading influenza to family, friends, and co-workers. That means fewer people missing work, school, and other activities. It is a quick, easy, and safe way to protect myself from the flu.”
Two types of vaccine are available, including the traditional “flu shot” and a nasal spray vaccine. The shot, usually given in the arm, is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions. Three different flu shots are available: a regular flu shot approved for people ages 6 months and older; a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older; and an intradermal flu shot that uses a “micro-needle” and is approved for people 18 to 64 years of age. The nasal spray vaccine is approved for people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant. This year, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”) recommend the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children between the ages of 2-8 years old. About two weeks post-vaccination, protective antibodies develop in the body to resist influenza viruses.
“An annual seasonal flu vaccine, either the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine, is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu, as well as lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. Flu viruses are constantly changing, so the flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with the changes.” said Burstein. “When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu will spread through the community. We all benefit from this protection. Now is a great time be vaccinated before getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.”
Seasonal flu vaccines protect against the three (trivalent) influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Viruses in the vaccines can change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations of which types and strains of virus will circulate in a given year. A yearly vaccination provides the best protection against influenza throughout the flu season.
Poloncarz and Burstein also discussed the completion of quarantine for Dr. Myron Glick, a local physician who had been under quarantine for symptoms of Ebola following a recent visit to Sierra Leone. Dr. Glick, who had no contact with Ebola patients while in Africa and exhibited no symptoms of the virus since his return to the United States, willingly complied with twice-daily temperature checks and reported his findings to the Erie County Department of Health. Dr. Glick’s 21-day observation period drew to a close on Thursday, with all temperatures reported within the normal range and no observed symptoms.
Burstein added, “The Department of Health sincerely thanks Dr. Glick for his cooperation during this voluntary quarantine period. Dr. Glick’s willingness to participate in the daily monitoring and reporting of his health status helped to allay many unfounded fears.”
For more information:
On the Erie County Department of Health, visit http://www.erie.gov/health
On the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/other_flu.htm