Flu cases on the rise in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Flu season is in full swing, and it’s shaping up to be really bad.

Public health officials said doctors across the country have seen a spike in hospitalizations and some deaths related to the strain this year.

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We’re barely a few weeks into 2018, but the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is reporting an increase in cases across the Commonwealth.

The highest rates of flu-like cases have been reported in Essex County while central Massachusetts is seeing the lowest rate.

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So far this season there have been more than 400 confirmed cases of the flu compared to only 138 during the same time period in 2016-2017.

The Massachusetts Department of Health said rates of flu-like illness have continued to rise during the first week of January.

Sometimes the numbers may vary because a majority of patients are not tested for influenza.

Flu-like symptoms include a fever above 100 degrees, plus a cough and/or sore throat.

Doctors say it’s never too late to receive a flu shot.