Officials: Flu tapers off, remains a threat

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STRATFORD -

State officials say the flu appears to be leveling off across Connecticut, but they still consider the season active.

They are also still urging people to get the flu shot. They say it doesn't just protect an individual, it protects the larger community because it helps prevent the flu from spreading.

Health leaders also met with Rep. Rosa DeLauro Tuesday. In the meeting, the Stratford Health Department reported a downward trend in people seeking out flu shots over the past few years.

"It is worrisome," says Bernice Bova, the town's nursing supervisor. "We really do believe in acceptance of the vaccine, the flu vaccine. It does have some efficacy."

Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this year's vaccine is only about 36 percent effective in children. 

In Norwalk, 6-year-old Emma Splan died from flu complications despite receiving the vaccine.

That's why DeLauro wants Congress to spend $1 billion on developing a universal vaccine that is more powerful and lasts for multiple years.

"We are looking at thousands of people dying right now, and I don't think we can wait," she says. 

Experts say reaching her goal won't be easy.

"This would require a scientific breakthrough, because the flu virus has been quite challenging," says Dr. Matthew Cartter, Connecticut's state epidemiologist.

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