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Flu Patients Tripled So Far This Year at SBU Hospital

Eleven days into the new year, three times as many patients have been admitted to Stony Brook Hospital with influenza.

Eleven days into the new year, Stony Brook University Hospital has already treated three times the number of patients for influenza than it did throughout the same time frame in 2012.

According to a hospital spokesman, 51 patients have been admitted to the hospital this year, compared to 17 last year.

Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control has said that this year's flu outbreak is expected to be one of the worst years in the past decade. And on the local level, flu shots are going fast; Rite Aid reported an hour-long line early Friday while CVS was flat out of them.

A pharmacist at Target reported early Friday that about 40 to 50 flu shots were in stock, though reported similar high demand.

"We have a decent supply, but we are also giving a lot," she said.

While the number of patients who entered Stony Brook University Hospital's emergency room reporting a flu-like illness stands at over 250 throughout the year so far, no data was available from 2012 to compare years.

Other hospitals across Suffolk County have reported increases in flu patients this year as well, though most evidence has been anecdotal.

“We have an uptick in census in the emergency depart," Southampton Hospital spokesperson Marsha Kenny said. "A lot of peole are coming in, some people with flu symptoms, and some people who are just really sick.”

A Mather Hospital spokesman said the hospital, "is seeing a greatly increased number of influenza patients in the Emergency Room."

Stony Brook University Hospital is not offering flu shots this year to the public, however they have set up a hotline, HealthConnect, that people can call at 631-444-4000 to get information regarding flu shots.

In addition, the hospital set up a flu web page for further information.

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