Flu season has Boston declaring health emergency - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Flu season has become nationwide epidemic

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This week's flu outbreak map (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm) This week's flu outbreak map (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm)
Gov. Cuomo receives flu shot at the NYS Capitol Thursday. (NEWS10) Gov. Cuomo receives flu shot at the NYS Capitol Thursday. (NEWS10)

Coughing, fever, body aches... The flu is hitting people hard this year, up six percent nationwide.

Albany County has had 45 lab-confirmed cases of the flu since January 1st and 208 flu cases in December 2012, and it isn't even the peak of the flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of a harsh flu season, which usually peaks in midwinter, and labels the flue as 'widespread' in most U.S. states.

New York Department of Health Commissioner Nirav Shah says there have already been more than 19,000 reported flu cases in New York this year. That's five times more than last year's reported 4,404 cases.

Shah says there have been two pediatric deaths from the flu in the state, and urges everyone to get vaccinated if you haven't already.

Albany County Department of Health is holding a special flu clinic Saturday, January 11th from 9 a.m. to noon at the Health Department at 175 Green St. The Albany County Department of Health also provides flu vaccines Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Health Department. To make an appointment call (518) 447-4589.

Health officials are urging vaccinations for everyone six-months and older, but some doctors say that might not be enough to ward off the virus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, leading by example, received his flu shot at the Capitol Thursday.

Massachusetts public health officials are reporting 18 flu-related deaths in the state already this season, and Boston has declared a public health emergency. The Department of Public Health says the state is 1 of 29 reporting higher-than-normal rates of flu-like illnesses.

"I hate needles and I got one. Wash your hands, cough into your elbow, some of the basic practices that help reduce the risk," says Massachusetts Governor Patrick.

Massachusetts public health officials are reporting 18 flu-related deaths in the state already this season, and Boston has declared a public health emergency.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Wednesday there have been about 700 confirmed cases of the flu in Boston so far this season, compared with 70 all of last season.

The city is working with health care centers to offer free flu vaccines and also hopes to set up public locations where people can go for vaccinations. The city is reporting four flu-related deaths, all seniors.

Learn the level of flu in your area: http://www.flufacts.com/flu-tracker.jsp

Some additional links which may be of help:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivitysurv.htm

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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