Stats for last week show Boston experienced the same number of flu cases as the week before - and that ER visits for flu like symptoms actually went up.
Statewide, the number of flu cases dipped from the week before.
City statistics for the week ending Jan. 5 show Roxbury and Hyde Park had the highest percentage of emergency-room visits due to flu-like symptoms while Charlestown had the highest per-capita number of confirmed flu cases. The latest Boston Public Health Commission flu report shows a total of 750 confirmed flu cases city wide for this flu season - 231 of them since Dec. 31. Most are Influenza A with a small number of Influenza B cases.
On Wednesday, Mayor Menino declared a public-health emergency in part because health-care facilities are now at or near capacity. One out of four of the confirmed cases have been among people who had to be hospitalized; four people have died.
Neighborhood health centers are running free flu-shot clinics for Boston residents this weekend and next week.
The city plans to ring the phones - more than half belonging to senior citizens - following yesterday's declaration of a public-health emergency. A transcript:
Aside from increasing efforts to get people vaccinated, the declaration is a recognition that local hospitals are now near or at capacity due to an influx of people with flu-like symptoms.
The city plans to stock community-health centers with flu vaccine and open them this weekend to provide free doses to Boston residents. See the schedule. For more details, contact the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 9 am. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or the Mayor's 24-hour Hotline at 617-635-4500 after hours.
CommonHealth alerts us to a Children's Hospital study that found kids infected with MRSA seemed to be especially at risk to death by flu. In some areas, up to 9% of kids now have the antibiotic-resistant bacteria living in their noses; such kids had an eightfold risk of severe and sometimes fatal H1N1 flu infections. And this, they say, is why kids need to get flu shots.
A Boston man in his 40s has died after coming down with the flu, the Boston Public Health Commission said today. The man was particularly vulnerable because of unspecified underlying health issues, the commission said.
The commission says everybody should get a flu shot and take other precautions to reduce the odds of contracting or spreading the virus, including frequent hand washing or sanitizing, staying home with flu symptoms and for at least one day after your fever breaks, covering your mouth when coughing and avoiding sick people.
The Boston Public Health Commission reports a sharp rise in flu cases in the under-5 set likely signals the start of more widespread flu cases among adults.
Emergency-room visits for flu-like symptoms in general is up sharply over the past month, but especially among children under 5, the commission said today. Lab-test sampling - not everybody who shows up at an ER with fevery aches has samples sent for testing - shows 21% of cases are now among kids under 5, the commission said.
"If we're seeing this level of flu activity in children, then adults are likely to soon follow," said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau "Influenza often starts in a community in children, then spreads to adults."
Barry said it's not too late to get a flu shot, which is now recommended for everybody over the age of six months.
Free flu clinics (there's one Friday in Uphams Corner).