Medical leaders gather at Yale New Haven amid flu outbreak

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NEW HAVEN -

Following the unexpected, flu-related death of a New Canaan 10-year-old, health professionals are reporting an increase in flu-related hospitalizations this year. 

They made the announcement from Yale-New Haven Hospital Friday. Doctors say this year is unusual because both influenza strains A and B are spreading simultaneously.

They say hospitals are struggling with a dramatic increase in hospitalizations, especially among people 50 years old or older. There have been 21 deaths so far across the state. Out of the 615 hospitalizations, 11 were of children. 

Doctors and health officials say most of the time people are at higher risk for serious illness if they already have an underlying medical condition and get the flu on top of that.

"This is the time to make sure that you stay in touch with your pediatrician or family practitioner," says Dr. Matthew Cartter of the Connecticut Department of Health. "If your child has an underlying illness for example, like asthma, I'd say, hey be on the lookout for fever and difficulty breathing."

Cartter says flu reason generally runs into February or March, although every season is unique.

Despite the widespread increase in hospitalizations, experts say there are enough vaccine doses and other supplies to meet the demand.

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