Pennsylvania NEWS

Pennsylvania Wraps Up a Strong Flu Season

After a difficult flu season in Pennsylvania, the Department of Health wants residents to realize the dangers of the virus and how it can be prevented. Nearly 98,500 reported cases occurred this flu season, resulting in 157 reported deaths.
“Influenza is a disease that can leave people sick for days, but it can also be serious, and even deadly for vulnerable Pennsylvanians,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Getting an annual flu vaccine remains the most effective way to protect your health and the health of those around you. Getting vaccinated can also help protect people who cannot receive the flu vaccine and who are also at higher risk for the complications of flu, such as those with cancer or compromised immune systems or infants under six months old.”

Of the nearly 98,500 reported cases during the 2018-2019 flu season, most were influenza type A. This included two common seasonal strains, the H1N1 strain and the H3N2 strain, which was the dominant strain for the 2017-2018 season, and historically causes more complications, hospitalizations and deaths.

In Pennsylvania, 157 reports of people died from the flu, which is fewer cases than the 2017-2018 flu season, but more than the two flu seasons before that. Two pediatric deaths occurred during the 2018-2019 flu season.

The most unusual aspect of the past flu season was its relatively long duration. Over 2,000 cases of the flu were reported each week from late December through mid-April. The worst week was in March, when nearly 10,000 cases were reported. It is important to remember that only a small fraction of all flu cases are reported to the department, so the actual number of flu cases each season is much higher.

Visit the Department of Health's website to learn more.