FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brian Richardson, Director of Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Today, CDPH Immunization Medical Director Dr. Julie Morita will host a live Twitter chat at noon to answer community questions about the flu and citywide vaccination opportunities. Follow the discussion with hash tag #FluChicago.
CHICAGO - This morning, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) released its latest "Chicago Flu Update," a weekly report detailing the number of reported intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalizations due to influenza and the percentage of emergency room visits for influenza-like illnesses for the week ending January 5.
According to the report, 'influenza activity remains elevated' as reported cases outpace last year's cases. Between September 30 and January 5, there were 121 influenza-associated ICU hospitalizations reported, almost double the total number of cases reported last year. While this is of concern, it is not alarming.
For the week of Dec. 29-Jan. 5, there were 31 such hospitalizations reported, a slight decrease over the previous week when 35 hospitalizations were reported. Additionally, outpatient and emergency room visits both saw slight decreases over the previous week but are still substantially higher than in recent years. The full report is available online, here.
"Even though there is a slight decrease in cases reported week-to-week, there is still a very real possibility that we will see more flu activity in the weeks ahead," cautioned CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. "That said, Chicago is prepared with vaccines available at clinics, pharmacies and health care providers across the city. Chicagoans can prepare too by getting their flu shot today."
Effectiveness of this year's vaccine is consistent with previous estimates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Commissioner continued, "The flu shot is still the single most effective way to protect against the flu."
CDPH recommends that individuals receive vaccinations from their own doctor or other regular health care provider. For those without a health care provider, there also are other convenient, affordable opportunities to get a flu shot, including retail pharmacies and CDPH Fast-Track Immunization Clinics.
CDPH Fast-Track Immunization Clinics provide flu vaccinations at no charge for adults and children six months and older. Clinics are open five days a week in several locations across Chicago. For locations and hours of operation, click here. Residents also can find their neighborhood locations with an easy-to-use interactive web app at www.CityOfChicago.org/Flu/Map. Additionally, the CDPH Mobile Immunization CareVan offers free immunizations.
In addition to getting a flu shot, CDPH recommends the following simple steps to avoid contracting or spreading the flu:
Other important factors that help prevent getting sick:
Improving the health and well-being of all Chicagoans by controlling the spread of communicable diseases is a top priority in CDPH's citywide health agenda, Healthy Chicago. Healthy Chicago sets an ambitious sense of purpose for Chicago and engages the city with bold action and goals to make Chicago the healthiest city in the nation.
For more information on CDPH and Healthy Chicago, visit www.CityOfChicago.org/Health.