JAMESTOWN – It’s flu season and the number of confirmed influenza cases in New York State rose 72 percent during the last week, but Chautauqua County numbers remain relatively low with only about 5 people per 100,000 having confirmed cases.
According to numbers from the State Department of Health, there are seven confirmed cases in Chautauqua Ciounty as of Friday. The Bronx leads the state with 288 confirmed cases during the past week. Hamilton, Wyoming, Yates and Seneca counties have no reported or confirmed cases.
Six of the cases in Chautauqua County are Type A and one is Type B influenza.
Type A flu or influenza A viruses are capable of infecting animals, although it is more common for people to suffer the ailments associated with this type of flu. Wild birds commonly act as the hosts for this flu virus.
Type A flu virus is constantly changing and is generally responsible for the large flu epidemics. The influenza A2 virus (and other variants of influenza) is spread by people who are already infected. The most common flu hot spots are those surfaces that an infected person has touched and rooms where he has been recently, especially areas where he has been sneezing.
Unlike type A flu viruses, type B flu is found only in humans. Type B flu may cause a less severe reaction than type A flu virus, but occasionally, type B flu can still be extremely harmful. Influenza type B viruses are not classified by subtype and do not cause pandemics.
Health officials say the best way to avoid the flu, or spreading it to others, is to simply wash one’s hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis.