Flu Scare Leads to Public Health Emergency in Boston

    January 10, 2013

Botson Mayor Thomas Menino this week declared a public health emergency in Boston due to what could become one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade. Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that cases of the flu are picking up across the U.S., hitting levels that have been seen during moderately severe flu seasons.

The city of Boston stated that around 700 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported in the city – ten times the 70 cases reported in the whole of last year’s season. Over 4% of all emergency room visits at Boston hospitals are now due to the flu. In response, the Boston Public Health Commission is working with community health centers to provide free flu vaccination clinics over the weekend.

“This is the worst flu season we’ve seen since 2009, and people should take the threat of flu seriously,” said Mayor Menino. “This is not only a health concern, but also an economic concern for families, and I’m urging residents to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. It’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family. If you’re sick, please stay home from work or school.”

Like many of the flu cases seen across the U.S. this year, the cases in Boston have been particularly severe. 25% of the flu cases reported in Boston have required hospitalization, and four senior Bostonians have died from flu-related illnesses since the beginning of October.

(Image via Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons)