• Everything you need to know about the 2018-2019 flu season

    By: Mike Saccone


    BOSTON - Massachusetts is one of 24 states in the country currently reporting widespread flu activity for the 2018-2019 flu season, according to the Centers Control for Disease and Prevention

    According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s latest weekly flu report, published on January 4, rates of flu-like illness continued to rise over the previous seven days. State health officials said they expect these rates to climb in the coming weeks. They urge you to get a flu shot if you haven't done so already. 

    >>RELATED: Frequently asked questions about the flu

    The state health department not only gathers data on confirmed flu cases, but also flu-like illness, which may be caused by other viruses. Flu-like illness is defined as a fever above 100°F in addition to either a cough or sore throat. Flu-like illness is a marker of the flu and is used throughout the flu season to monitor the flu since most people are not tested for the flu.

    >>RELATED: How do I know if I have the flu?

    The latest data showed flu-like illness activity in Massachusetts is increasing, consistent with rising activity in other parts of the United States.

    Massachusetts is broken into seven regions: Boston, Central, Inner Metro Boston, Northeast, Outer Metro Boston, Southeast, Unknown and West. Six of the seven regions are reporting increased flu-like illness activity. The West region is reporting low flu-like illness activity. 

    Laboratories in Massachusetts repot all positive flu tests to the state health department, but because the majority of cases aren’t tested, the number of confirmed cases doesn’t reflect the overall incidence of the flu. The information though is essential to track the types of flu circulating in the state.  

    To date for the 2018-2019 flu season, Massachusetts has had 2,073 confirmed cases of Type A flu and 121 cases of Type B flu. 

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