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Fri January 18, 2013
Flu Declines in Mass., But Season Not Over
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that flu-like illnesses in the state have dropped for the second week in a row.
Al DeMaria, medical director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease and the state epidemiologist in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, says the numbers seem to be on the down swing, but he remains cautious.
"Flu is still going to be around for several weeks,” DeMaria said. “It’s going to take time to get back and people need to take all the precautions, and if they haven’t gotten a flu shot, they still should get that because we may have another strain of flu circulating later in the season."
Still, holiday season changes people’s behaviors and could give misleading numbers, DeMaria said.
“Over the holidays people either delay their health care or get their healthcare in a different way because they’re traveling or because they are going through an urgent care center instead of their primary care providers, so it interrupts our monitoring system," he said.
The usual peak time for flu is mid February, DeMaria said, adding that another strain of flu might come along.
“Just because we’re turning a corner doesn’t mean you still can’t get the flu, you still can be helped by getting a flu shot,” he said.