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Flu cases on the rise in Erie County

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Along with dangerously cold temperatures, Erie County is also being hit with influenza.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says New York is one of ten states reporting geographically widespread flu. Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says there has been a "sharp increase" in the number of reported cases this week.

"What we see most often is cough, sore throat, and fever. It lasts a long time. If you have influenza, you can expect to be sick for at least a week, really sick in bed. It's just a miserable condition to have," Burstein tells WBFO News.

Burstein says the majority of people falling ill with this year's flu strain are between 18-and-49 years of age. She says most flu cases are the Type A strain.  

"Much of that is the H1N1 virus," Burstein says.

Burstein says it's never too late to get vaccinated and there is plenty of supply on hand. H1N1, she says, is in the flu vaccine this year.

The health commissioner says frequent hand washing is the most important tip to help prevent the spread of the illness.