New York state health commissioner discusses flu epidemics, electronic cigarettes, AIDS and other public health issues
New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD, emphasized the importance of flu vaccination during the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu pandemic. In 1918, the first cases of the Spanish flu were diagnosed in Syracuse -- in soldiers who were living on the New York State Fairgrounds, which was serving as a temporary Army camp. More than 4,000 soldiers took ill, and 163 died; in the Syracuse community, more than 8,000 took ill, and 1,052 died from the flu that season. Zucke, who recently visited the Upstate Medical University campus to deliver a lecture, emphasized the need for preventive measures against the flu, such as hand washing and sneezing into tissues or one's elbows instead of one's hands, in addition to vaccination. He also spoke about efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in New York state and to deal with the opioid crisis, electronic cigarettes and the spread of a yeast infection called Candida auris in hospitals and nursing homes.