Flu Activity Considered ‘High’ in Every New Jersey County
For the first time this flu season, presence of the virus is considered "high" in every New Jersey county, according to the latest update from the New Jersey Department of Health.
The entire state is "in the red" on the latest influenza map, which includes statistics through the week ending Mar. 5.
It took the flu much longer this year than last to hit its peak. In 2015, flu activity was "high" in every county by the Jan. 17 update.
Dr. Richard Mojares, owner of Family First Urgent Care in Oakhurst, said his office is seeing "a lot of flu" right now, which is unusual for the beginning of March.
On Monday of this week, about one-third of the office's patients were showing flu-like symptoms.
"The flu usually is seen in December, January and the beginning of February...but now it's come late," Mojares said.
Mojares couldn't point to an exact reason for the late flu push, but he said it could be due to the mild start of winter, and frequently-changing weather patterns.
According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan, New Jersey's current flu activity is in line with national trends.
"The thing about the flu is that it's always unpredictable," Tan said. "We always watch flu activity throughout the year."
Preliminary data suggest this year's flu vaccine is considered 59 percent effective - a good match to the flu strains that are in the community. That's a marked improvement from last year when the vaccine's efficacy was under 20 percent.