Less Flu in Connecticut? State Says Looks Can Be Deceiving

The CDC's ILINet Map shows Connecticut had less flu-like illnesses than surrounding states. (Credit: CDC)

Connecticut is a lone green state in a sea of red, but we're not talking politics. Connecticut shows up on a map as a state with minimal flu-like illness, surrounded by states with high flu-like activity levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has just issued its Influenza Surveillance Report for the last week of December, called ILINet.

But if you're worried about the flu, that's not a reason to move to Hartford, health professionals say. Connecticut is far from flu-free, and CDC data aren't perfect.

"Germs don't respect state lines," said ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. He said Connecticut certainly didn't escape the flu just because other states have had higher percentages of outpatient office visits.

Click here to read how the flu has little to do with cold weather.

It's possible the Connecticut's numbers were artificially deflated because of students' winter break, said William Gerrish, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Public Health. College student health centers account for a large percentage of flu reports in the state.

"Unfortunately, these student health centers have been essentially closed during the long holiday break resulting in an artificially low statewide ILINet activity level," he said.

Gerrish also said that a separate flu map, which includes only laboratory confirmed flu cases, shows Connecticut as a state with "widespread" flu cases, meaning that no areas are flu-free. (ILINet is broader and includes flu-like illnesses.)

"These indicators clearly show that Connecticut has not avoided the flu," Gerrish said.

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