MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

New York State announces that influenza is no longer prevalent

Howard A. Zucker, the acting commissioner of health for the state of New York, announced on Thursday that influenza is no longer prevalent in the state.

The state Public Health and Health Planning Council adopted a regulation on July 31 that requires personnel who have not been vaccinated against influenza to wear masks in certain facilities where patients are present.

Zucker's announcement means that healthcare workers no longer need to wear the masks.

New York State experienced an unusually active influenza season in 2013-2014. The first wave began in December, peaking around January 17, and consisting primarily of influential A (H1N1) cases. The second wave consisted of mostly influenza B and began in early March, peaking in early April and ending in May.

The state considers it unusual for a large amount of influenza cases to be reported in the latter part of the season.

The prevention of influenza transmission from healthcare workers to patients is a priority. Healthcare workers are encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to receive vaccinations for influenza.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set a healthcare worker influenza vaccination rate goal of 90 percent through its Healthy People 2020 program.