Flu season off to its fastest start in 15 years

Flu season off to its fastest start in 15 years

BOSTON — The flu season is off to its fastest start in 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Massachusetts is among the states being hit hard by the virus.

The CDC's most recent report shows the flu is currently widespread in Massachusetts, meaning there are confirmed cases across more than half of the state.

The CDC estimates there have been as many as 2.5 million flu cases and 2,400 deaths nationwide so far this season.

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The Boston Public Health Commission released its first report of the season that shows flu cases in Boston are up 7% from this time last year. In the city, 68 people have contracted the flu, and 12 of those people have had to be hospitalized.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also reporting higher than normal flu activity right now, especially in Outer Metro Boston.

The CDC says so far this season, 268 people in Massachusetts have contracted the virus. These numbers are expected to increase as winter continues.

Doctors say the best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated.

The DPH says it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies necessary to protect against infection, so it's best to get the flu shot as soon as possible.